With the home opener for the New York Rangers now being just a day away everyone is fired up and here is a little more to add to it. While unconfirmed this appears like it might be the opening montage for the Rangers tomorrow.
Video via Rangers official youtube channel:
h/t to NYRBlog for finding this.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Facial hair in the National Hockey League is nothing new. Each year in the playoffs the hockey beards come out, but long before that point there is Movember. Movember is and effort throughout the month of November to raise money and awareness for different men’s health issues by growing mustaches. On some the mustaches look good, while on others they provide a sense of comedy relief. Today, the Goalie Guild released images of Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller taking the comedy side of it to another level with his new mask depicting himself and his Ducks’ teammates with ridiculous mustaches.
Photo’s courtesy of the Goalie Guild:
Posted by Michael Gleich at 2:57 PM
The New York Rangers have battled through defensively without two of their top four defenders in the last five games, but that appears ready to change tomorrow night. Michael Sauer told reporters today that he expects to be in the lineup tomorrow for the first time since October 8 against Anaheim. This is a huge help to the defensive corps as Sauer was the steadiest defender on the club last season and while his presence does not show up in the boxscore often he does plenty of things on the ice to make himself known. This should help ease the burden on Girardi and McDonagh while solidifying the second defensive pair for the Rangers.
What would Rangers game be without some new lines heading into it? With the offense continuing to struggle to generate not only goals, but consistent pressure coach John Tortorella has mixed up the lines once again. Lines via Steve Zipay:
Fedotenko - Richards – Gaborik
Stepan - Dubinsky - Callahan
Wolski - Boyle - Prust
Newbury - Anisimov - Rupp/Christensen
The top two lines are solid as Fedotenko’s grit should help the Richards, Gaborik line possess the puck more in the offensive zone and create chances. Stepan brings his playmaking ability to Dubinsky and Callahan, while all three are trying to get their games going this season.
The bottom six is less certain for me as Anisimov on the fourth line is not good for him at this stage of his development. It was fine two years ago to protect him and let him come along slowly, but playing with Newbury and Rupp is not going to help him now, especially if Torts uses his fourth line as little as normal.
Wolski needs to bring the Rangers offense or he is not worth the price they are paying him, and it is unclear if he will do that with a more grinding type pair in Boyle and Prust. Putting Anisimov between Boyle and Prust is something I would like to see them try as Anisimov has excelled in the past with physical players, Boyle gets more freedom on the wing to play in the corners and all three guys can score. However, if Fedotenko sticks on the top line it would mean wasting Wolski on the fourth line. Rangers once again are still searching for combinations that work.
Rupp didnt practice today, as was the case before Winnipeg, but is expected to go tomorrow.
Marian Gaborik has been the New York Rangers best forward thus far this season. Gaborik has returned to the form of his first season in New York with four goals already and showing the burst he never really had last season. With as well as Gaborik has been playing the fact he was not playing for much of the third period against Winnipeg caused concern for possible injury and/or anger at coach John Tortorella for possibly benching the star winger. Luckily it appears that neither of those was the case.
According to Larry Brooks at The New York Post the reason that Gaborik only got four shifts and 3:03 of ice time in the third period was because of the amount of time the team spent pinned in their own end.
“It was not a benching,” Tortorella said. “Gabby has probably been our most consistent forward.”
There are those who still want to see Gaborik get his ice time because of how good he has been and it is hard to blame them for that. It was a missed Gaborik shift that saw Prust, Richards and Fedotenko get pinned in the defensive zone for nearly two minutes, but eventually led to the power play that Callahan scored on. Once the Rangers took the lead there was no reason to double shift Gaborik to make up for the lost ice time, especially since there are forwards much better equipped to preserve the lead. Sure Gaborik could go out and make it a two goal game with another snipe and make the rest of the game a little easier to take, but his line also could have been responsible for giving up the tying goal and then Tortorella would have been hammered for having him out there.
Gaborik will get used and abused when the team is in need of a goal while down one or tied in the third, so there is no reason to worry about running him out there when you have the lead. That is the luxury of having Callahan, Dubinsky, Boyle, Prust to sustain those third period leads. Tortorella makes questionable decisions with the lineup and the lines, but his use of Gaborik in the third period Monday night was not one of them.
Posted by Michael Gleich at 11:46 AM
According to Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, the reason that Mats Zuccarello did not play on Sunday was because of a concussion sustained on the vicious hit from Adam Mair Saturday night. Mair was suspended four games for the hit that knocked Zuccarello out of action. Concussions are going to happen and Zuccarello said he expects to be at practice today, but as we have seen with Marc Staal they can be very unpredictable and hopefully they will be cautious with Zuccarello in not letting him rush back to action.
h/t to Kevin DeLury of NYRangers Blog for finding this one
Posted by Michael Gleich at 9:39 AM