Thursday, September 22, 2011

Did J.T. Miller Play His Way Onto Europe Roster Last Night

Originally when the New York Rangers left for Europe follow Monday’s preseason game with the Flyers there were going to be 31 players (18F, 10D, 3G) making the trip.   Those plans have changed.  Jesse Spector tweeted that coach John Tortorella has decided to add an extra forward along with one more defender to the trip.  The addition of more players to the trip is not huge news, but what created the buzz was Tortorella saying that the additional forward earned their way on the plane with last night’s game.

The best forwards for the Rangers last night that were not already on the NHL roster were Dale Weise, John Mitchell and J.T. Miller.  My gut reaction to the additional forward was that it was Weise now going, but as others have pointed out Weise and Mitchell were likely already making the trip so Miller could be the guy.  If Miller does make the trip it will be a nice cap to an impressive couple weeks for the 2011 first round pick.  Miller struggled at the beginning of Traverse City, but has been getting better with each passing game and the more the games are against pro level talent, the better he has played.  His strength and playmaking instincts have been on display and the glimpses of what Miller can become in a few seasons are exciting for Rangers fans.

The defender being added to the list is as cover for Marc Staal as he continues his recovery from concussion issues.  Speaking of Staal, there was concern earlier today when he was not at practice, but it was a scheduled absence to see a concussion specialist.

Rangers Roster For Preseason Game 2 vs Devils

After sending a mainly non-NHL roster to face the Devils in Wednesday night's preseason opener in Albany, the New York Rangers are sending more NHL players to Newark on Friday.  The combination of the AHL game in the afternoon and wanting to get the rest of the NHL guys some action was bound to see a more veteran group see some action.

Via Andrew Gross
#NYR forwards tomorrow: Boyle, Callahan, Fedotenko, Gaborik, Hagelin, Newbury, Richards, Rupp, Stepan, Weise, Wolski, Zuccarello

#NYR D tomorrow: Brendan Bell, Del Zotto, Tim Erixon, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Sauer, Pavel Valentenko.

#NYR goalies tomorrow: Marty Biron, Chad Johnson
Of the forwards, only Carl Hagelin has not played with the Rangers during the regular season and at least 8 of the guys playing will be in the opening night roster.

On defense the group is younger as Girardi is getting this one off and Staal is out recovering from his concussion.  McDonagh, Sauer and Del Zotto are the only one's who saw significant time with the Rangers last season.  Del Zotto, Erixon and Bell get another chance to make an impression for the final spot battles on defense while Pavel Valentenko makes his preseason debut.  Slightly surprised to see McIlrath not in the lineup after his strong performance last night.

2012 Winter Classic Logo Leaked?

The 2012 Winter Classic has been the subject to lots of rumors and supposed leaks, but nothing has been real to this point and the NHL still has yet to officially announce the game.  With the game announcement supposedly coming this Monday, September 26th, when the Rangers and Flyers meet for a preseason game there is a new leak surrounding the game.  This one is about the logo and it comes from Kyle Scott over at Crossing Broad.

This might be another fake or not the final version of what comes out, as Kyle points out there are a lot of things about this logo that make it seem like the real deal...
But this one is different... It very closely matches the styling of the 2009, 2010, and 2011 logos. What's more, unlike the obviously fake logo released earlier this summer, this one very prominently features the game's title sponsor, Bridgestone. It's also complete with all appropriate ™ and registraton markings. The design elements, which include a swinging puck (used the three previous years) in the bell and hues from both teams' color sets worked seamlessly into the logo, also give this one a little more credibility.
If this is the real thing, then what do you think about it?

Rangers Previewing Opening Night Roster?

There are still two weeks left until the New York Rangers 2011-12 season opens against the Los Angeles Kings, but it is hard not to read into the lines that coach John Tortorella put out today.  According to Andrew Gross over at Ranger Rants today’s lineup looked as follows…
Wojtek Wolski-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Steve Eminger
Ryan McDonagh-Mike Sauer

Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron
In terms of the forwards this is the lineup that makes the most sense unless Hagelin, Bourque, Avery or Christensen go out and do something to lock up a job, which none has done yet.  Zuccarello’s chemistry with Stepan last season certainly helps him in this equation, though when it comes to final decisions his cap hit might not.  Personally I would rather play Rupp with Boyle and Fedotenko with Stepan, but certainly understandable that Tortorella would go back to a line that worked so well first. 

Defensively it is somewhat surprising to see Del Zotto in the “projected” lineup, but Erixon did not do anything to steal a spot last night and this is also a way to boost Del Zotto’s confidence.   

Overall you have to be excited for what a lineup with this kind of depth and the competition to change this lineup over the next few weeks is going to be intense.