Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rangers Play Listless Hockey, Fall 1-0 to Stars

The New York Rangers had their two game win streak snapped in 1-0 loss against the Dallas Stars. Trevor Daley scored the only goal of the game with 4:59 left in regulation.

Dallas capitalized on a Woywitka turn over in the neutral zone and worked the puck to a wide open Daley who danced around Lundqvist.

The Rangers lacked energy all night and other than Ryan McDonagh being robbed shorthanded there were few chances that really tested Bachman.

Richards seemed out of sync all night.

Video: The Captains 24/7 Promo

Video: Shea Weber Scores From Upper Level Seating of Bridgestone Arena

Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber is famous for his huge slap shot that has scorched a hole in a goal net, but after this bit of video he might be just as famous for a trick shot.  Weber went up to the Nashville "Goal Zone" located in the 300 level of the Bridgestone Arena and fired the puck over all the seats below, down onto the ice and into the opposite goal.

Flyers' Giroux Out Indefinitely With Concussion

Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux seemed to be having everything go right for him so far this season.  The 23-year-old forward was in the midst of a career season that has him currently leading the league in scoring with 39 points.  His season had Giroux getting recognized as one of the elite players in the league and now it appears to be on hold as the Philadelphia Flyers announced today that Giroux is out indefinitely with a concussion.

The announcement was made by the Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren this morning on the team’s website.
“Claude reported not feeling very good today,” said Holmgren. “Over the past few days, his symptoms have gradually gotten worse. He will be out indefinitely with a concussion.”
The injury was sustained on Saturday when Giroux was accidentally kneed in the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds.  Initially reports had Giroux out for the two games this week and feeling better yesterday, but the situation has taken a turn for the worse.  With an indefinite timetable on his return and only three weeks until the Winter Classic it is likely that the NHL will be unable to showcase this budding star in their marquee regular season game. 

The focus on concussions in the NHL has been headlined by Sidney Crosby who is again out, but just looking at the Winter Classic you could have a game that sees Giroux, Chris Pronger, Marc Staal and Michael Sauer all miss because of concussion issues.

Rupp Close To Ready, Staal Taking Another Step; Sauer In Holding Pattern

There were some updates on the Rangers injured today with Mike Rupp taking part in his first contact practice since his knee surgery.  Following practice Rupp, according to Andrew Gross, told reporters that the earliest he could play would be Saturday against the Coyotes because he still needs to work on stopping and starting.  With Rupp being within a week of coming back to the lineup the Rangers would likely demote either John Mitchell or Sean Avery as I speculated yesterday.  Mitchell has a lower cap hit and is seemingly in better standing with coach John Tortorella, so Avery would be the more likely of the two to be sent out.

In other injury news, Marc Staal skated with the team for the first time since training camp, even if it was in an orange non-contact jersey.  Staal referred to it as the "next step" in his recovery and getting back.  There have been no reports of setbacks in Staal's recovery of late though still no sense of a timetable on when he might be back.

Wojtek Wolski was also on the ice in a non-contact jersey, but is hoping for contact soon.

While those three had positive news, the report on Michael Sauer was not so uplifting.  The Rangers announced that Sauer will not travel with the team on their road-trip to St. Louis and Phoenix.  Sauer has not skated since the concussion and no timetable exists for him.

Report: Richards Declined Trade To Rangers To Prevent Rangers Being Diluted

The New York Rangers interest in bringing Brad Richards into the fold was much of the talk of last season’s trade market, but no deal was ever finalized to bring the 31-year-old center to New York at that time.  According to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, Richards was the one who refused to come in a trade because of the asking price that Dallas was giving New York to move him.
Richards could have come to the Rangers last year at the trade deadline. But, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation, he declined to waive his no-move clause when he learned of the bounty (three Grade A assets) the Stars were demanding in return, not wanting the Blueshirts to be diluted upon his arrival.
While it is unlikely that Glen Sather would have met an asking price as high as the one Brooks is speculating about here, it is great to see that Richards knew he wanted to be a Ranger and decided to use the power of his no-trade clause to ensure that the team would be worth coming to for the long-term.  It was a smart move for Richards given his stated desire to play for a contender, but not one that he had to make if he was thinking about things through a self-centered lens.  This is another small example of how Richards is doing a lot to improve the Rangers off the ice through his leadership and the dividends it is paying on it.  Think of this Rangers team if it was without Stepan or Anisimov from their forward core or if Dallas had demanded McDonagh be involved from defense. 
Richards knew that he wanted to be a Rangers and he knew that he wanted to win.  With those two focuses clear in his mind he was willing to wait an extra few months to relocate to Broadway and both sides are better because of it.