Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video: Vancouver Canucks Pay Tribute To Rick Rypien

The Vancouver Canucks paid tribute to Rick Rypien before tonight's game against the New York Rangers.  The tribute to the Canuck who lost his battle with depression during the off-season was a beautiful one and all involved should be honored.

Penguins' Kris Letang Suspended Two Games For Boarding Alex Burmistrov

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's ruler on player discipline, has handed out his latest suspension, this time it was for two games to Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letang was called for a two-minute minor penalty during the third period of Monday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets when he rode Alexander Burmistrov into the boards in the offensive zone.

Shanahan stressed in his explanation that Letang clearly acted as if he knew Burmistrov would get the puck first, making this not a race for the puck but a defensive play by Letang.  Also factoring into the decision were the "predictable" path that Burmistrov took to the puck making it Letang's responsibility to let up on the check and the fact that Letang was fined for a similar hit in April 2011.

The two game suspension is somewhat surprising given that there was no injury on the play and that Letang has never been previously suspended.  A fine or a one-game suspension likely would have been sufficient, but it appears the fact that Letang was recently fined had a large impact on both the decision to suspend and the length of punishment given.

Rangers Stressing Need For Quick Start Against Emotional Canucks

The New York Rangers head into Vancouver tonight in search of their first win on the season and facing a Canucks team that is getting reinforcements on the ice and emotion from the pre-game ceremonies.  The return of Kesler to the lineup adds a completely different dimension to the Canucks lineup as it is no longer a one line team, but adds to the team defensively and their edge as well.  The pre-game ceremonies to honor the late Rick Rypien will only add to the energy in the building.  According to Marian Gaborik and Jeff Woywitka via Blueshirts United the Rangers are well aware of how critical the start of the game will be tonight.

The start is going to be huge, they always come out strong in this building. So we need to bang some bodies, be physical, and play a quick game. We need to try and play five-on-five and play in their end, shoot as much as we can, and hopefully play with a lead. We need to get our first win.
Before the Islanders game it was Christensen talking about the sense of urgency and how the rivalry must fire up every player on the team and now we have Gaborik talking about banging bodies.  Like Christensen the other day, Gaborik is exactly right that the Rangers need to do those things, but it is still weird having it come from his mouth.  The Rangers do need to get back to playing their style and establishing the game in Vancouver’s end early and often.

We're going to make sure we are respectful and pay our respects to a guy who was a good teammate here in Vancouver and whose loss was a tough one in the hockey world, but once the whistle blows and it's time to get going, we know that crowd will be energized and we're going to have to make sure we match their intensity. The first ten minutes or so we know they will be charged up, so we will have to match that, weather the storm, and then get rolling.
Vancouver will certainly have energy, but I expect that the Rangers will have a tinge of desperation to get off to a fast start as they search for their first win.  The best way to “weather the storm” of emotion that will be in the building is to take the play to the Canucks, get an early lead and take the crowd out of it.

Torts Looks To Punishment To End Rangers Penalty Problems

The New York Rangers have been in the penalty box far too often in their first three games this season.  The team has been shorthanded 19 different times thus far and it has cost the Rangers two games as the Los Angeles Kings scored the game-winner in OT while on the power play and the Islanders had two goals with the man advantage on Saturday.

According to Pat Leaonard of the Daily News, coach John Tortorella has turned to punishment to attempt to curb the parade to the penalty box.
When Rangers defenseman Jeff Woywitka tripped up a forward in practice Monday, John Tortorella made all of his players drop and do 10 push-ups on the ice at Rogers Arena.
"No penalties here," Tortorella barked.
There is no way to tell if this will work at all, but Tortorella is certainly backing up his disgust over the penalty situation from Saturday night's post-game talk.  This does feel a little gimmicky as it is a sort of punishment that would be better served with guys losing ice time instead.  The only part that appeals is the team aspect of the punishment so you get peer accountability as well.

The Rangers will certainly need to show more discipline tonight as the Canucks offense thrives on the power play having converted five power play goals in their 21 chances this year.  That power play only gets more lethal with the return of Ryan Kesler tonight.  The Rangers should certainly hope the message got through and there are no need for pushups following tonight's game.