Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gaborik Skates For Fourth Straight Day, Could/Should He Play Vs Philly?

The New York Rangers had the day off as a team, but according to Jesse Spector of the Blueshirts Blog, star forward Marian Gaborik skated for the fourth straight day in his attempt to come back from a concussion.  There is no official word on whether Gaborik will play tomorrow against the Flyers, but coach John Tortorella did tell Sam Rosen yesterday that it was possible he could play if he had no setbacks between yesterday and tomorrow. 

As much as this team needs him and his skill in the lineup, rushing him back too soon would be a mistake, especially with how easy it is to sustain another concussion.  I would definitely hold him out tomorrow against a very physical team like Philadelphia and maybe even the road  trip to the West coast next week, but that likely wont happen unless there is a setback.

Ryan McDonagh is also questionable to return tomorrow after wrenching his knee on Thursday and being forced to miss the game last night, but the discussion around McDonagh and his recovery last night leads me to think he might be in the lineup tomorrow.  If he is, then it should be Matt Gilroy and not Steve Eminger that spends the afternoon in the press box.

Rangers Analysis: Could Del Zotto's Injury Be Good For Him Long Term?

Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Could the injury to Michael Del Zotto that is going to keep him out for 4-6 six weeks actually end up being a good thing for his career?  Seems like a crazy thought and before you think so, let me work out where the logic in that idea comes from.  Obviously no injury on its own is a good thing because the goal for all players, especially those in the development phase of their career is to play as much as possible.  The goal of sending Del Zotto down to the minors was for him to get major minutes in all situations, build his confidence and work on his deficiencies and that cannot be done while he is out injured. 

On the other side of that, this injury allows him a break from the ice where he has been fighting his game where he can step back and breathe again, so he can come back with a fresh mindset instead of hearing all the negative voices.  Beyond the psychological side this presents an opportunity for him as a way to help his understanding of the game and mental development in the interim.  Part of the appeal of bringing in Bryan McCabe was for his veteran experience and leadership.  Now is the perfect chance to take advantage of those things.  Since Del Zotto cannot play for the Connecticut Whale over this next month, as his finger heals, the prudent move would be for the Rangers to bring Del Zotto back to the club so that he can spend as much time watching and talking with McCabe. 

Bryan has the ability to impart the hockey knowledge he has gained over the last 15 years at the NHL level both in how to deal with the struggles and what to fix to make things better.  Initially it might be the ability to share his own struggles that helps Del Zotto who is clearly down on his own confidence after the season he has had.  After that, watching McCabe run a power play in terms of keeping the puck in the zone, walking the line to create lanes and opportunities, the willingness to fire the puck and just poise with the puck can only help Del Zotto when he returns to the ice.  The fact that after doing that he can talk to the guy about it, or break down the tape with Michael makes McCabe an invaluable resource for him right now and the Rangers should exploit while they have it.  You never want to see a player get hurt, especially a young player who is trying to get their game back together, but now the Rangers should look to do all they can to make the best of a bad situation and use all their resources to help Del Zotto for his future.

Rangers Prospect Chris Kreider Breaks Jaw, Out Indefinitely

The New York Rangers problems with injuries at all levels is something that seems beyond any rational belief at this point.  What’s worse is each time you think it cannot possibly get any worse someone else goes down.  According to Julie Robenhymer of Hockeybuzz Rangers 2009 1st round pick Chris Kreider suffered a broken jaw on Friday night against the University of New Hampshire.

The incident occurred during the second period of the game when his teammate, Brian Gibbons, cleared the puck up the boards and it hit Kreider in the face he was stumbling.  Kreider dropped to the ice and was writhing in pain along the boards.  He would eventually leave the ice under his own power, while some of his blood remained on the ice.  After being taken to the hospital the break of the jaw was diagnosed.

At this point there is no word on the severity of the break or if he will need to have surgery, which leaves him out indefinitely with no real way to tell whether his season is over or not.  Once they make a determination on the severity and the course of treatment they will determine if there is a chance for him to be involved in the Hockey East or NCAA tournament.

On the season Kreider has 11 goals and 12 assists in 31 games this year for BC.  Rangers fans got very excited after Kreider won the Beanpot MVP and putting up back-to-back two goals games, but since he was quiet with just one assist in the last four games. That dichotomy is not unusual for Kreider season as he has either been red-hot in putting up points or very quiet, which is why I believe another year in college would be good for his consistency and increased role on the team.  Physically Kreider is ready for the professional game, but on the ice another year of development in college could be the difference between being an NHL player versus being an impact play as Kreider has stated he wants to be.

Now is not the right time to delve into deeply, but one must one wonder if he is out for the season how much that sways his decision about going back to school or turning pro this summer.

Will obviously update when any new information becomes available.