Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daily Recap: Girardi Has Become Top Defenseman; Dylan McIlrath Gets Good News in MRI; Dubinsky and Girardi All-Star Push; Time For Change In Hartford; Jokinen Suspended

This morning I continued and possibly ended my series on Rangers who were left off the NHL All-Star ballot but deserve to be in the game with a look at Dan Girardi and the transformation from goat of the Carcillo debacle who many left for gone after that to the Rangers best defenseman so far this season.  Girardi is doing his best to make Glen Sather look like a genius for locking him up for four years this summer even at what originally seemed like an excessive price point.  The 26 year old Girardi is in the top 20 in numerous categories among defense and is chipping in more than his fair share on the offensive end mainly because of improvements with his shot and shot selection.

New York Rangers: More Than the Name Must Change in Hartford/Connecticut

I am not a huge proponent of the win/loss record in the AHL because to me it is about development, but there comes a point where if you continue to lose that kind of mentality gets immersed into the young players you are supposed to be getting ready for the next level.  You never want the future of your organization to come from a culture of losing and while I have been talking about how bad things are in Hartford for a while now it is time for a change.  Over the last 13 games the club is 1-9-2-1, scoring a grand total of 23 goals in that span, and 7 of those came in one game.  That means for the other 12 games there has been a total of 16 goals scored or an average of 1.25 goals a game and you thought the Rangers NHL offense used to be bad.

I understand that in the history of the Wolfpack Ken Gernander has been Mr Wolfpack and I respect all that he has done on and off for that franchise throughout the years.  I also understand that this club is a mish-mash of talents and personalities that has led to a chaotic environment, so the job for Gernander is not easy.  All of that said there has been a sense in the past week of holding players accountable by shipping Dane Byers, the captain of the club at the time, off to Columbus and now with the coming transition to the Connecticut Whale it is time to cut ties with Mr Wolfpack and start fresh.  There must be accountability for the awful performance of this club over this extended a stretch of time not to mention the fact that all the “top prospects” that were sent there are struggling either under the system or the leadership.  

Dylan McIlrath Injury Update: MRI Results In

After nearly a week of waiting the Rangers and their fans finally have a result on the severity of the knee injury to 2010 1st round pick Dylan McIlrath.  The result will allow all Rangers fans to exhale as Jesse Spector of the Daily News is reporting that the MRI showed a mild MCL sprain which is certainly not a major knee injury and should require him to miss merely a few weeks and not the multiple months many of us were bracing ourselves for.  This is tremendous news and would seem to contradict what I was previously reading about the injury as there was speculation within the last 24 hours that he would not be seeing the ice anytime soon.  For a few weeks the truck will be in park while it gets a tune-up and then it will be right back to rolling over opponents for Moose Jaw in the WHL.

Olli Jokinen Suspended 3 Games; Will Miss New York Rangers Return

The people most disappointed in today's news that Jokinen has has been suspended for the next three games and thus will miss his triumphant return to Madison Square Garden next Monday are of course the fans.  The fans are not disappointed because they miss seeing what was at one point considered a very good player but because they will not be able to mercilessly boo the "Sex Panther" each time he touches the puck for his tenure in the Blueshirts sweater and of course his missing in the shoot-out against the Flyers in game 82 last season.  The happiest people have to be Tortorella cause it might save him a question or two about picking Jokinen over Gaborik in the shoot-out and the fans at home watching the game because they should be saved from MSG continually showing the replay of said miss in the last game of the regular season a year ago.

I for one will spend Monday thanking Jokinen and Sutter because if not for them the Rangers would have Kotalik for this year and next at 3 million dollars a season and we would not have fan favorite and phenomenal teammate Brandon Prust on this roster.

Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi All-Star Game Campaign

Dig Deep of Blueshirt Banter
Update: Link to Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi All-Star Campaign Update

With the NHL fan balloting underway there are campaigns are springing up everywhere including in our own backyard with the push to get Sean Avery into the game.  I assume that all of you are doing your part on that front, but I will remind you to keep the push going even as the publicity for it spreads and it seems you do not have to as much individually.  In that same spirit I want to remind you that while it might not seem necessary because we watch Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi game in and game out and the numbers each is putting up this year, take nothing for granted in terms of their candidacies for the game.  Obviously I have written about both over the last two days and you can get those articles by clicking on their names just above.  As with any write in campaign there needs to be a concerted and consistent effort in order to achieve the goal especially when you have two players who do not get the national attention as many of the other players who they are competing against.  The Rangers are a very loyal fan-base with a wide reach and now is the time to use all of the assets available to us to on behalf of the guys who contribute the most to our success.

Everyone knows this Rangers team has been built on the idea that each night a different guy might have to step up and do the job. The two guys that have done it the most consistently so far this season and numbers truly back up and All-Star candidacy are Brandon Dubinksy and Dan Girardi. It is time we as Rangers fans reward our guys by voting them into the All-Star game this year.  I created a facebook page similarly to this as both a spread the message type thing but also a reminder to Rangers fans to assume nothing and continue to vote the maximum 30 times a day for all the guys you want in the game.

Vote here

*Special shoutout to Dig Deep of Blueshirt Banter for the photo

Dan Girardi: From Goat to Great, Why He Must Be An All-Star

Yesterday in looking at the Rangers All-Star candidates I looked at Brandon Dubinsky and how his elevated played both in the statistical and non-statistical areas has earned him the right to go to the game.  Luckily for me Dubinsky decided to go out and have a very good game, scoring a goal and having a key hit that sparked a lackluster early third period to get his team going in their comeback attempt. Today in part two of the series I am going to switch to the defense and look at the blocking machine that is Daniel Girardi and his transformation from whipping boy to irreplaceable in a matter of months.