Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daily Recap: Staal Hit Analyzed; All-Star Update; Manning Lost To Philly; Whale Jersey's Revealed/Trade; Redden Porn Stache

It was a relatively slow news day, but that didn’t stop us from bringing you what was on some people’s minds today.  The morning started of course with more talk about the Marc Staal pasting of Matt Stajan in the third period of the game last evening.  I went through the play, Rule 48, and found in my interpretation of the play that Staal was clean on the hit and should not be suspended at all.  The league apparently agreed with me at least according to TSN tweets which said that the hit was deemed to be legal, so now it is up to Staal to keep bringing the physical play as he will need it tomorrow against the best player in the game, Steven Stamkos.

This afternoon the initial figures from the All-star game balloting were announced and to me the two most deserving Rangers of selection Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi ranked 49th and 34th at their respective positions.  Sean Avery 27, Marc Staal 13, and Henrik Lundqvist 11 were the “bright” spots for the Rangers in the results.  After the results and simmering on the topic for a few hours I popped the top on a rant about the Rangers fans were putting in so much time and effort to get Avery in the game but not nearly the same about to get their players who do deserve to go in.  I have no problem with the Avery effort at all, but a team’s fan base must seek to do their part in having their players achievements rewarded and I do not see that happening right now in terms of voting.

There was very little other news at the NHL level today other than some musings about the injury status of Michal Rozsival, Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal which I discussed along with the minor minor-league trade the Rangers conducted that sent room destroyer Nigel Williams packing and Christian Thomas winning the OHL player of the week here.  Speaking of the Hartford/Connecticut team the soon to be Connecticut Whale unveiled their third jersey’s today and I put up some pictures of the new look uniforms along with a picture of Wade Redden and his porno stache he is working with these days.

Finally in the biggest story of the day for me I guess on this slow news day it was reported and confirmed that Brandon Manning a prospect I have been following closely all season since his inclusion in Rangers camp would not only not be signing with the Rangers but the rival Flyers.  To me this is a huge blunder for the Rangers as Manning is the type of defensive prospect this team does not currently possess no matter how many good ones we might possess.

News Roundup: Rozsival, Drury, Prospal Injury Updates; Minor Trade; Prospect Wins Award

Overall it was a slow news day for the Rangers, but there were some tidbits that can all be wrapped up at one time.  Let us first start with the minor trade of a few hours ago where the Rangers shipped out malcontent Nigel Williams for Stu Bickel who is a tough player, but is really more of an ECHL defender than anything else.  The move was purely about getting Nigel Williams out of the room in the AHL as he had been demanding a trade for since the spring and never realized that the best way to get traded was to play well enough for someone to actually want to acquire you.  I would not expect much from Bickel as he has been a healthy scratch many times this year in Syracuse, but maybe he will give us a good fight or two.

In better news as was clearly expected 2010 2nd round draft pick Christian Thomas was awarded the OHL player of the week with the likely announcement of his as CHL player of the week coming tomorrow when the choice is made.  As I said in the prospect stats update Thomas had an outstanding week scoring 5 goals and adding 5 assists while being a plus 5 in just two games of action.  Just as if not more impressive than the numbers themselves was the fact that Thomas scored in all phases of the game and scored at important stages of both games.

Finally on the NHL level there were no definitive answers in terms of the returns of Michal Rozsival, Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal but there was some news.  The goal now for Rozsival is for him to play on Friday as he recovers from the should strain and the PRP treatment he had in the past week.  He participated in practice today wearing a yellow non-contact jersey.  Chris Drury for his part watched practice from the bench and then did on ice conditioning drills following the team practice.  Vinny Prospal has yet to resume skating and does not know when he will but he is said to be progressing with his pool rehabilitation and no change has been made to the prior mid-late December timeline.

Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi All-Star Game Campaign Update/Rant

photo by Dig Deep of Blueshirt Banter
The preliminary numbers for the All-star game voting came out today and there was good news for Marc Staal 13th among defenders and Sean Avery 27th among forwards.  In the not so good news departments Brandon Dubinsky was 49th among the forwards right behind Zach Parise who hasnt played in 3 weeks and Dan Girardi sits 34th among defenders.

I understand the appeal of voting for Avery and have supported the effort to some extent because there is a fun aspect to it.  I also understand that there might have been an aspect of complacency assuming that guys like Dubinsky would get votes from all around based on the season he is having, so less effort would have to be used to get him in the game. Obviously that is not the case.  So, my problem right now is if you as a fan of this club are going to put in the effort to stuff the ballot box for someone who everyone involved does not deserve to go on merit should you not also spend the same amount of time voting for guys on your own squad who do?  Maybe I am naive to think that way, but you have the ability on every ballot to vote for three forwards, two defense and one goalie.  There is nothing at all that stops you from voting for Avery and also writing-in Dubinsky as a forward and Girardi as a defender.  Heck, go all out vote for Gaborik, Staal, and Lundqvist to complete the six-pack of Rangers.  If Flyers fans can figure out how to put Richards 6th, Giroux 11th, Briere 12th and Carter 17th I have faith that Rangers fans can vote for more than just one of our own.  To me the point is not even about getting best players in the game it is about supporting the guys who are doing the most to help your team win at least as much as you are trying to screw with the commissioner.  

I completely agree with the sentiment that the all-star ballot is a farce as I expounded here, but means we as fans must be even more diligent in forcing the guys who deserve to go into the game and not just the popularity contest contestants.  Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi had nothing to do with the development of the ballot, so to not vote for them because of the joke the ballot is punishes them for something they had no control over.  I understand the argument in part for Avery is that Bettman is screwing up the game and making it a joke, but I counter that with if you are a fan of the sweater as I believe all those who are voting for Avery truly are is it not a joke or disrespect against guys who sacrifice their bodies and produce the most to get that sweater wins to not support them in being recognized for their achievements?

I am happy for Avery and everyone who has been working so hard to get him in the game, the work is paying off, congratulations.  All I want now is to also be happy that we are supporting those most responsible for where our team is right now.  I leave you to your votes.  I had my say and obviously you can have yours in the comments.

Vote here

Below is the original campaign post for Dubinsky and Girardi

Unveiling the Connecticut Whale...Jersey Photos Plus Redden Rocking Mustache

Today the soon to be Connecticut Whale unveiled one of their three jerseys. The first game where the jersey's will be worn is this coming Saturday the first official game as the Whale as part of a sort of second opening weekend.  I am sure the team as well as the fans would love to hit the reset button on those first 20 games. The season has been abysmal for the team, but winning two of three and getting a new name and uniforms might be a chance for a fresh start for them.  If not they will at least look pretty good in the new jersey's. 

For those who will miss the days of them being called the Hartford Wolfpack take solace in the fact that through the magic of corporate sponsorship the word Hartford will still be on the uniform as a patch for The Hartford will adorn the left shoulder of the uniforms.

Update: Before we get to the Connecticut jersey we bid farewell to the Hartford ones with a picture of Wade Redden rocking a mustache.

Via McLooth and SNYRangersBlog

I know that is Tim Kennedy on the left, but not positive which guy is on the right in that picture.

Rangers Blow Opportunity As Rival Flyers Sign Brandon Manning

At the end of last month I did something I never thought I would do and which was to advise Glen Sather to go out and spend money on a free agent.  The caveat of course being this was not a high priced NHL free agent but rather an undrafted free agent playing for the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL, Brandon Manning.  Manning is the Captain of the Bruins and as a 20 year old defenseman is tearing apart the WHL so far this season with 10 goals, 16 assists, a plus 5 rating and 57 penalty minutes in just 20 games.  In writing that article just over three weeks ago I finished it by saying the following:

I do not ask Glen Sather for much in terms of things I actually want him to go out and spend money on but this player is one I will. Manning will undoubtedly win his bet on himself and make more than he would have signing in camp, but that number is only increasing daily so time to pony up before someone else does.

Analysis of Marc Staal Hit On Matt Stajan

In both the posting of the video and the game recap I have stated views on the Marc Staal hit that knocked Matt Stajan from the game with 10:24 remaining in the New York Rangers versus Calgary Flames game, but let me take it a step further here and lay out the full case.  The NHL this year has instituted unanimously instituted new rules laying out penalties for “lateral or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted."  There are those who are claiming that this hit fell under those rules and thus Marc Staal should be suspended.  This Rule is called Rule 48 and reads as follows:

48.1 Illegal Check to the HeadA lateral or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted.

48.2 Minor PenaltyThere is no provision for a minor penalty for this rule.

48.3 Major PenaltyFor a violation of this rule, a major penalty shall be assessed (see 48.4).

48.4 Game MisconductAn automatic game misconduct penalty shall be assessed whenever a major penalty is assessed under this rule.

48.5 Match PenaltyThe Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.
In the case of Marc Staal’s hit on Matt Stajan the hit is not lateral or from behind but from in front of the player as the angles on the video clearly show, the player does not leave his feet to make the hit, there is no raising of the elbow to create an intent to injure and the principle point of contact is with the chest of Stajan and carries him further up into the body.  What happened on the play was a defender had lined up an offensive player for an open ice hit just inside the neutral zone and the offensive player assumed there would be no contact so he continued to watch the pass he had just made instead of the ice.  As callous as it might sound the person to blame if one is to be blamed for this hit is Matt Stajan because he was not skating with his head up, which is not to say if he was he would not have gotten laid out by a great hit, but he could have braced himself better for impact.  

I do not know for sure if it makes a difference in regards to Rule 48 that his head was turned to the side as opposed to being down, which is the only point of uncertainty for me. 

I agree with what the league is trying to do in light of the increased rate of concussions and to take the dirty hitting out the game, but concussions, which I would assume is what Matt Stajan will have can happen on clean hits as well.  If Matt Stajan is seriously injured I will feel badly for him, but I will also believe that it was not due a dirty or malicious play on the part of Staal.  If the leagues fines or suspends Marc Staal for this hit then the league might as well outlaw hitting because this is the textbook kind of hit you want a defenseman to make in terms of defending his own zone and doing it cleanly.  This is not Shane Doan or Matt Cooke, or Mike Richards, this was clearly from the front, on the ice and with the arms down and I expect the league to keep their arm down and not call foul as the referees on the ice did tonight.

Original post withe video of the hit and versus team analysis can be found here

Daily Recap: Staal Hit; Biron Shines In Win; Lundqvist Sits; Prust's Evolution; Werek Spotlight

The New York Rangers gained a hard fought victory over the Calgary Flames at home this evening led by the goaltending of Martin Biron and goals from Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle.  It was a cap to an interesting day in Ranger land that will no doubt spill over into tomorrow.

The day started with my article on Brandon Prust and how he always seems to be someone who slides under the radar, goes without the headlines, but has become an integral part of the Rangers organization and is a big reason why this club this year is developing a team identity instead of the compilation of individuals they have been in recent years.  I do not think anyone knew nearly ten months ago when the Olli Jokinen trade was made that the best part of it would be a guy who was talked about as an undersized fighter type.  As frustrated as the Rangers fans were with Olli Jokinen they must always remember that Brandon Prust is the gift Olli gave them.

Later in the morning it was announced that in a previously unscheduled move Martin Biron would be the one in net tonight for the Rangers against the Flames and the Henrik Lundqvist would get the extra two days to work on his technique and be back in goal on Wednesday against the Lightning.  I had no problem with using Biron as he had been the more consistent goalie this season and he would reward the coaches later with a spectacular performance.  In previewing the game I talked about how the Rangers if they wanted to be a good team would need consistency, to beat the teams they are supposed to beat and to win at home.

In the game itself the story, at least during the game, was once again Martin Biron and his 31 saves to give the Rangers the 2-1 victory.  The full game recap is here.  The story from the game that dominated after the game and will surely spill over into tomorrow is the Marc Staal crushing hit on Matt Stajan during the third period.  I posted the video of the hit along with my take on it, and some thoughts on it are in the recap as well.  Tomorrow morning I will delve into a more in-depth analysis of the hit where my take on the actual hit does not change much but I will look at the bigger picture of the league and what I expect to come from it.

The only other post today was a spotlight feature done by Hockey’s Future on Rangers Prospect Ethan Werek, which shows another smart interview for Werek and is a fun watch for about six minutes in length.