Saturday, December 4, 2010

Daily Recap: Kreider Heating Up; Cally Not Punished; Drury, Prospal Updates; McIlrath Fight; Thomas Save

This morning I looked at the play of Chris Kreider and how his pattern of play over the past two years reminds me of another New York pro athlete.  The pattern also shows that Kreider is about to break out in a huge way and that has already begun as tonight he would score a beautiful shorthanded goal against the rival Boston University Terriers and would have 2G, 2A in the two game series to bump his season numbers to 5G 6A in 16 games.  The full article on Kreider, how his slow start does not mean something is wrong and who the other New York player is can all be found here.

Following that today there was a pair of reports that stemmed from filings on the team and today’s practice.  The first focused on the two guys who have missed virtually the entire season with their injuries; Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal.  Inside the article that can be found here there is an update on Drury and what he is currently able and not able to do along with a timetable on his return.  Also where Prospal is concerned he has taken another step forward in his recovery but is not close to a recovery.

In the other there was the discussion of the NHL decision to take no suspension on Ryan Callahan for the elbow hit on Frans Nielsen in Friday’s game along with the fact that Brandon Prust was sat from practice with a sore shoulder.  Find out my thoughts on the Cally decision, if Prust is going to play tomorrow and what he should be doing less of to stay healthy by clicking here.

Rangers 2010 1st round pick Dylan McIlrath returned to the lineup Friday and wasted little time getting back into the fighting spirit by dropping the gloves in an excellent scrap during the first period.  To watch the video from the fight and read more discussion on Dylan’s injury and play follow the link here.

In what I expected to be my last post of the evening other than this recap I took a look at the Rangers matchup with the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night at 5.  This will be the second Heritage night game on the schedule and for those who do not know the Heritage schedule it is listed here.  As for the game itself the Rangers need to take care of business against an inferior opponent who is coming off a game tonight that they lost in a shootout.  The Senators are 2-7-1 in their last 10 so the Rangers should beat them but they should not underestimate them.  For a look at the lines, my keys to the game and prediction on the outcome check out the full pregame here.

I said I thought the pregame was going to be the last article of the night and technically it was, but even as a Rangers fan I was compelled to put up the video of Tim Thomas robbing Francois Beauchemin in OT for the Boston Bruins tonight.  To me the save will likely be the save of the year and if it is not then someone made a whopper.  Check out the video of the brilliant save here.

Once again want to give a shout to Dig Deep for making his original banner for the site even better; phenomenal work.

Video: Tim Thomas Makes Save of Year

Tonight during the overtime period between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas what will go down as the save of the year on Francois Beauchemin on what was a sure OT winner for the Leafs. The Leafs would go on to win the game anyway thanks to a Phil Kessel SO goal, but does not change the brilliance of this save.

Yes, this is a Rangers blog and yes I cannot stand the Bruins, but if you love hockey you love great hockey plays and this certainly was one.

New York Rangers Look For Third Straight Against Ottawa Sunday

The Rangers are looking to build on their back to back wins against the Islanders which while not pretty they were effective enough to get the four points they needed.  Playing against Ottawa might be a similar scenario as the Senators have underachieved but they also have talent to bite you if you do not take them seriously for an entire game.  It will be interesting to see which version of the Rangers comes to play tomorrow in terms of the run and gun lax defensive style that was Thursday night’s tilt or the lock it down defensive effort they put in on Friday.  For me the effort on Friday is more typical of how the Rangers are going to have to play to continue to be successful.

Dylan McIlrath Returns; Revs Truck In Tremendous Fight with Video

Three weeks ago when Dylan McIlrath went down on Friday November 13th while playing for his Moose Jaw Warriors against the Lethbriidge Hurricanes the Rangers, the Warriors and all fans involved held their breath bracing for the worst news on his knee. After a week of uncertainty he would come to New York to have an MRI and a diagnosis on his very valuable young knee and it would turn out as good as anyone could have hoped with the sprained MCL diagnosis. With that diagnosis he was expected to miss only a few weeks and last night was the day the “Truck” would get back in gear against the Regina Pats.

Anyone who wondered how his knee was, after missing 6 games, they would find out quite quickly as 11:16 into the first period McIlrath would drop the gloves with Art Bidlevskii, who is no stranger himself to dropping the gloves. The fight itself was excellent as Bidlevskii would get in a few big shots on Dylan to start and then McIlrath would nail him with some thunderous right hands before Bidlevskii would get back in it and Dylan would get a few more in towards then. There was even a point in the fight where in trying to get his arm free it looked like McIlrath tried to throw Bidlevskii over.

Dylan would finish the night with zero points, seven penalty minutes and a +1 and nobody could care less other than he was out there healthy again helping his Warriors get the 9-6 victory in the game. After a slow start to the year the Warriors now sit in second place in their division with a record of 16-11-0-1. Dylan after a slow start of his own now has 2G 5A an even plus minus and 48 PIMs in 21 games.

Callahan Gets No Discipline for Nielsen Elbow; Prust Sits Out Practice

In last night's game against the Islanders Ryan Callahan had an illegal hit against the Islanders Frans Nielsen when he elbowed Nielsen in the head.  On the play he was assessed a two minute minor for elbowing, but should have gotten a five minute major for the hit.  If you have not seen the video of the hit it is here along with the fight that ensued after the hit.  I have been one who has complained about fighting after hits of late, but this was an example where I applauded Joensuu for sticking up for his teammate on what was clearly an illegal hit, though he does need to lose the visor if he really wants to fight.

Today the league ruled that there would be no suspension for Callahan in regards to the hit which is what many of us expected given Callahan's reputation as a clean, hard player and that it did not appear to be at all intentional.  I thought at most he would get a game, but great news for the Rangers and their fans because now Callahan will be in the lineup for tomorrow's game against the Senators.

In other news Brandon Prust sat out practice today with a sore shoulder, but is said to be in the lineup tomorrow as well.  I said the other night in a game thread that I would like to see Prust fight less not because I do not enjoy the fights he has but because the sheer number of fights he is having takes a toll on a body.  That does not even account for the physical way he plays normally, the increased minutes compared to any other point in his NHL career to account for all the bumps and bruises he has to be playing through.  The other reason I would like to see Prust fight less is as much as the fight might entertain he has become too important of a player on the ice to be lost in the box for five minutes unless the fight is absolutely necessary.

Rangers Injury News: Drury Shooting For Return In A Week; Prospal Skating Again

There is some new information on two veteran Rangers who have missed virtually the entire season so far, Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal.  Drury has been out since October 15th with the saga of his broken finger, but not for the first time he is skating with a stick again.  As was mentioned during last night’s telecast against the Islanders the Captain is able to pass, but not shoot right now.

The quote from coach Tortorella can be found in Larry Brooks column this morning, where the following was said:
"Chris can pass but he can't shoot," John Tortorella said Friday of the captain, who has been skating for a few weeks but only recently received permission to grip a stick. "He's getting better ... if he doesn't shoot himself [out of frustration].
This is certainly a step forward for Drury who I have been critical of recently for the amount of time this recovery has taken since yesterday was 7 week since the injury.  The timetable was said to be as little as a week to maybe 10 days before he could be back in the lineup which would coincide nicely with the tough stretch of games the Rangers will have against very good teams.

If that was not enough good news on the Drury front the word out of practice this morning was that for the first time he was out there with the team, though not in line drills.  During the course of practice however Drury did take some shots while the team was doing odd man rushes.  The fact that he is testing the shot should bode well for Drury and his return as long as he is not doing it because he is tired of sitting and thus risking re-re-injury. 

As far as Prospal goes this was the first report that I had come across that had him on skates.  The quote from Brooks same article:
"Vinny, he's been skating a bit, no equipment, just sweats, but the process is moving forward. I spoke to [trainer Jim Ramsay] after practice a couple of days ago and Rammer is really encouraged.
It is great news to hear that Vinny is back on skates even if it is with no equipment because it is a huge step towards his return.  There was no timetable on a Prospal return and given that he still has no equipment let alone no practice you have to figure seeing Vinny before the end of the calendar year is probably a long shot, but this is another step in the right direction.

Quick Update on Drury: Chris did not speak to the media after practice but Tortorella said he thinks it will still be "weeks" as in plural before he is back which certainly sounds longer than what Brooks suggested.  We shall see as the finger saga continues.

Rangers Propsect Chris Kreider: Another Slow Start, Another Huge Finish?

Elsa/Getty Images
Yesterday in talking about the New York Rangers team I talked about patterns of performance that are evident when they play, and apparently top prospect Chris Kreider has a history of repeating patterns as well.  Kreider the 2009 1st round pick started his sophomore year slowly just like in his Freshman campaign, but he has been to heat up and is percolating after last night’s game against rival Boston University.  We are going to look back on Kreider to see why at times he has made Rangers fans nervous, including myself, but more importantly why he has proven over his time since the draft that a slow start should not worry us just as a different New Yorker in another sport seems to do each year.