Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Marc-Andre Fleury Stikes His Own Pose As Penguins Beat Price's Canadiens (Video)

Well that did not take long. Last week when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout, Canadiens goalie Carey Price decided the best way to celebrate the win was to strike a pose.

Well just six days later Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury would respond in kind by striking a pose back as the Pittsburgh went into Montreal and got to strut out with a 5-2 victory.

You can tell that the move by Price was very much on the Penguins mind for Fleury to do it and it does indicate that there is some bad blood now between the two teams which is always an interesting thing to consider as the NHL season gets closer to the playoffs and potential matchups.  

Now that each have posed at one another the obvious next step is for a dance off.

Video: Full Obama Speech From Arizona Memorial

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Yes, this is a hockey blog and we will certainly get back to hockey soon enough, but as an event that shakes pieces of how we may view the world and our lives the shooting in Arizona on Saturday transcends that.

John Tortorella Coach of the Year?

There is growing talk around the league commentary that New York Rangers coach John Tortorella should be a top candidate if not the winner of the Jack Adams Trophy for coach of the year.  I had been thinking about this for a little while and then when I heard Don LaGreca say it on Monday following the Mats Zuccarello interview on NHL Live I thought on it some more.  Today you have both Pierre LeBrun of ESPN and Kevin Allen of USA Today giving Torts the nod in their respective midseason awards reports.
The argument for Tortorella is a compelling one considering the expectations for the Rangers coming into the season, the massive number of injuries the team has suffered to key players and the number of young players either being mixed in as rookies or asked to take on key roles to be 6th in the Eastern Conference speaks volumes to the job that Tortorella has done.  

Rangers Alter Lines, Power Play In Search of Goals; Should Avery Be On Fourth Line?

News out of New York Rangers practice came down that when the team takes to the ice tomorrow there will be some changes to the lines and maybe more importantly the power play in an attempt to spark some offense.  Per Andrew Gross the lines were the following:


On the one hand it is not surprising to see coach Tortorella tinker with the lines when the team has only scored eight goals in six games this month, but also somewhat surprising because they are getting chances but lacking the finish.  At different points of the year both the pairs of Dubinsky, Anisimov and Stepan, Gaborik have shown chemistry and looking for a spark it is certainly not a bad way to go.  The Wolski, Stepan, Gaborik line features three immensely talented players who are all struggling to put up points right now, so maybe putting will ignite the fire we have been waiting for.

Along with the line changes there were changes made to the power play which has been atrocious this month going 1 for 18.  Derek Stepan is being taken off the point and Matt Gilroy will start to see more time on it as he will likely pair with Marc Staal on the man advantage.

These two personnel moves are a step in the right direction as Stepan has always been better suited to play down low on the wall and Gilroy has always been assumed as a potential power play quarterback.  Personnel is a problem on the power play and Brian Boyle still belongs out there to clog the goal mouth, but it is beyond just personnel at this point.  The team mentality on the power play is too passive for it to truly be a threat to the opposition.

Finally there has been a lot of consternation the last 24 hours over Sean Avery being sent back to the fourth line after three straight solid games and while I understand that Avery is a fan favorite it is the right move.  At this stage Avery is not better than anyone else in the top six or even the top nine on the Rangers forwards at this given moment.  That can certainly change, but for now Avery is where he belongs.

Rangers Offensive Struggles Becoming a Greater Concern; What Will Fix It?

The New York Rangers are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and have a respectable 3-2-1 mark in January, but there are definite signs of concern with what is going on at the moment.  There has been a lot of talk of late about the Rangers defensive core and their age as the youngest group in the league (24.9 years-old), but the defense and goaltending have been what is keeping this team in games and it is the offense that is struggling.  The Rangers dealing with a struggling offense is nothing new for those who follow the club, but it appeared in the 2010-11 season concerns about the offense were to be alleviated with the scoring balance the Rangers showed through nearly the entire first half, but that seems to be lost at the moment.  Maybe it is only six games and it should not be something to worry about, but where has the offense gone in 2011?  Is it time to begin to get concerned?  Who and what can fix the situation?

Daily Recap: Rangers Lose; Subban Slewfoot?; Wolski Missing Piece or Enigma?; Trade for Vet D?

The New York Rangers came into tonight’s game the feeling around the team and the fans was very good considering the team’s three game winning streak and yesterday’s trade for talent young forward Wojtek Wolski, who made his debut this evening, but at the end of the night some of that luster was taken away with a 2-1 loss to Montreal.  The team would play well for long stretches, but they did not finish the second or begin the third with enough energy and it would turn a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 loss.  They did create numerous chances, but were only able to cash in once.  Check out the full review of the team and Wolski’s review in Habs Halt Rangers Winstreak On Pouliot Soft Goal.
From the game itself there was a this beautiful goal by Brandon Dubinsky which all Rangers fans will enjoy watching.  Also including Dubinsky there was the latest in a series of borderline to dirty plays in the game by rookie Subban in which he slewfooted Dubinsky and no call was made.  Inside there is the video of the play so you can discuss if you believe it was or was not a slewfoot along with a discussion of whether other people complaining about this talented rookie and his growing reputation were right.