Friday, November 4, 2011

Avery To Start Montreal With Wolski Out (Groin); Rupp Knee Surgery Looming

The moment many have been waiting for has arrived as Andrew Gross is reporting that Sean Avery will be in the lineup tomorrow against Montreal.  Wolski is having an MRI on the groin and the results will be out tomorrow.  The New York Rangers will be without Wojtek Wolski who is out once again with a groin injury.  Should there be anything serious then he would likely be placed on IR and someone like Mats Zuccarello should get the call.

No word on where Avery will play, but look for him to play on the fourth line with Christensen and Deveaux or with Boyle and Prust depending on who coach John Tortorella uses to fill Wolski’s spot.  Avery being reunited with Boyle and Prust would give him more ice time and a line he has worked well on in the past.

In other injury news, Mike Rupp is going to have arthroscopic knee surgery next week where they will determine how long he is going to be on the shelf.  This is what Rupp was hoping to avoid, but better to get in there and fix the issue instead of going off and on trying to play through it.

Rangers To Place Marc Staal On LTIR, Create Cap Room

The New York Rangers have been silent on the Marc Staal front for weeks, and those optimistic he was coming back soon probably wish it had remained quiet this morning.  According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers are going to place Staal on Long-Term Injury Reserve.  Staal is already eligible for the move because he has missed 10 games and 24 days of the season with his injury.  The status of his comeback from the concussions is still unchanged, which at this point means his return is only getting further and further away.  The move today is purely about the salary cap.

The move allows New York to exceed the salary cap by the pro-rated amount of Staal’s $3.975 million based on the number of days he was out.  If he missed the whole season, then they would be able to go over by that amount, but there is still hope that won’t happen.  The move is necessary for the Rangers to open up the cap space to sign Anton Stralman, have Sean Avery on the active roster and potentially recall Mats Zuccarello now that Wojtek Wolski is out once again with a groin injury.

Video: Did Danny Briere's Shootout Goal Violate Rules?

The boundaries of what is and what is not a legal move in an NHL shootout keeps getting pushed further and further.  The latest controversy about what is and is not a legal attempt came Thursday night when Flyers forward Danny Briere drove hard in at Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg before slamming on the brakes.  Hedberg dove out at Briere attempting a pokecheck and Briere walked around him for the easy finish.  The only problem was that Briere appeared to violate Rule 24.2.
Rule 24.2 in part:
"The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent's goal line and once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete.”
Here is the video via The Score:
When Briere slammed the brakes he clearly used his backhand to stop the puck from rolling forward towards the net, which should have deemed the attempt illegal.  According to Tom Guilitti at Fire and Ice Briere knew he was close to if not violating the rule
 “He kind of surprised me with the poke check and I almost fell,” Briere said. “I wanted to keep moving forward but he kind of surprised me and I stumbled and almost stopped completely. I know the rule. You’re not allowed to go backwards and you’re not allowed to stop completely. To be honest, I wasn’t trying to stop completely. I just got surprised and stumbled a little bit.”
In the end the goal was allowed to stand because the NHL focused on the fact the puck stayed in continuous motion and never came to a complete stop.  So the question now becomes is the focus of the rule on forward motion to the net or continuous motion because it would change what sorts of attempts we could see in the future.