Monday, February 28, 2011

Video: NHL on the Fly Calls Rangers Deadline Losers

Obviously I do not agree with this shortsided analysis of what the Rangers did or more importantly did not do on deadline day and I will have more on that tomorrow, but I guess these are the experts.

Rangers Lose Martin Biron To Broken Collarbone, Talbot Recalled

With everyone focused on the trade deadline today and the lack of fireworks that ended up being for the most part, we all lost sight of New York Rangers practice which will clearly go down as the bigger story.  Per Andrew Gross the Rangers have lost backup goaltender Martin Biron indefinitely to a broken collarbone that he suffered during practice today.  In his place the team has called up Cameron Talbot, who is just coming off his own high ankle sprain, to really warm the bench behind Henrik Lundqvist.

This is a huge blow to the Rangers because not only has Biron been a more than capable backup with 8-6 record, 2.13 goals against average and .923 save percentage.  Beyond just the numbers, Biron has been very important to the plan of getting Henrik Lundqvist more rest so that they did not wear him out down the stretch and with him likely out for the rest of the regular season it means Lundqvist is likely to play all but one or two games the rest of the way.

According to Andrew Gross Sather did attempt to make a move for a backup goalie before the deadline, but the cost was too high.
“Sather says price to acquire another veteran backup was pretty high. Thinks backup will only play 1 or 2 games rest of the season.”

Trade Deadline Live Chat

2011 Trade NHL Deadline Open Thread

Less than 3 hours left before today's 3 p.m. trade deadline.  New York Rangers GM Glen Sather and the rest of the general managers in the National Hockey League will be looking to make moves, but it has been slow to this point.  The real fireworks usually get going in the last hour, so lots more potentially ahead.

Already this morning I have had a couple updates:

For the rest of the day the open thread will be up for you to comment and put up just about anything you want in the comments section and I will update with all the moves that happen.

If the Rangers make a move, then I will obviously put up a new thread to deal with that, but no telling on what that might be at this point.
3:20pm The Washington Capitals have acquired center Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for David Steckel and a second round pick.

Opinion: Great move by the Devils to get that kind of a return for a 35-year-old unrestricted free agent.

3:02pm The Rangers have acquired John Mitchell from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 7th round pick in 2012.
Opinion: Nothing to see here.  This is a move to bring some forward depth to the CTWhale who have been crippled by injuries and the loss of Tim Kennedy.

2:30pm The LA Kings recieved Dustin Penner for Colton Teubert, 2011 1st round pick and a conditional pick.
Opinion: High price to play for Penner, but if he teams with Kopitar and Brown it could be the kind of line that can propel LA forward.  Other key is they got to hang onto Simmonds and their main prospects in the deal.

2:04 St Louis have traded Brad Winchester to Anaheim for a 3rd round pick.

2:02 Florida continue to overhaul their roster. Bryan Allen has apparently been traded to Carolina for winger Sergei Samsonov.

Opinion: Tallon needs to put the phone down already

1:57 Ottawa have traded Chris Campoli and 7th round pick to Chicago for a 2nd round pick and Ryan Polutny.

Opinion: Hawks need a defender, but paid a big price for Campoli
12:54 The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded Radislav Klesla and former New York Rangers prospect Dane Byers to the Phoenix Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto.

Opinion: Phoenix gets a big body defender, but they give up a couple of speedy players who appear to be well liked in the room.  This has to be about the injury to Ed Jovanovski and him not returning very soon. Don Maloney makes another move to acquire a piece he helped draft.
11:45 The Capitals acquired Dennis Wideman from the Panthers in exchange for Jake Hauswirth and a third rounder.

Opinion: Good move for the Capitals with Mike Green uncertain and Wideman underrated as a puck moving defender.  Hauswirth is an ECHL guy so it is basically a third rounder.

10:50 Atlanta trades Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller to Florida for Radek Dvorak and a 5th.

Opinion: Bergfors certainly has his warts, but for Dvorak this is a good gamble by Tallon.

12:00 Jimmy Howard gets a two year 2.25M contract extension with the Red Wings.

Opinion: Good move for the Wings and helps set the market for UFA goalies this summer.

10:05am Justin Williams signs a 4 year deal worth 14.6 million to stay with the LA Kings

Opinion: Smart move by the Kings to lock up a good player for a below market price. 

Rumor: Rangers Could Target Penner If No Deal For Richards

According to Jesse Spector at Blueshirts Blog, if the New York Rangers cannot work out a deal for Brad Richards, they may move on to target Dustin Penner of the Edmonton Oilers.
A source has told the Daily News that if the Rangers do not trade for Richards, there is not another top-line center on the Blueshirts' radar, and that their priority might then shift to finding more scoring from the wing, with a focus on Dustin Penner of the Oilers. WIth a $4.25 million cap hit next season, Penner would not be an ideal fit for the Rangers' plans, but if the price is right, it would make sense to add a player who has 21 goals, more right now than anyone on Broadway.
Spector says that the Stars are sticking to the asking price of Anisimov, a prospect and a first round pick and there is no indication that Glen Sather will pay that price tag.  Should be fun.

New Brad Richards Cost, Updated Rumors.

In today’s NY Post, Larry Brooks writes there is a new asking price from Joe Nieuwendyk for Brad Richards in Artem Anisimov, a top prospect and a first round pick.  This demand is certainly lower than what Brooks said the demand was last week.  The key to evaluating the demand would be in knowing which prospect it was that Nieuwendyk is seeking.  The popular belief/wish this morning among Rangers fans is that it is Grachev.  Possible this is the actual case, but also seems like wishful thinking that a guy Rangers fans are all too happy to get rid of would be the one a team is demanding for a guy they want.  Dallas very well could be asking for Chris Kreider or Dylan McIlrath, who they were apparently intent on taking in this year’s draft before the Rangers grabbed him at 10.
Darren Dreger tweets that unless something changes, Richards will not be leaving Dallas today.
Helene Elliot in LA Times and Elliote Freidman of Hockey Night In Canada both believe that the Stars will hold onto Richards if they think he can be re-signed.
Jesse Spector tweets “Pierre McGuire inserts McDonagh into Richards rumors, a name that should make it instant hang-up-the-phone time for Sather.”  Jesse is absolutely right and if Sather did pull the trigger on a move like that there would be a riot.

2011 Trade Deadline: Will Sather Get His Man Brad Richards? At What Cost?

All the talk finally ends today, the cards get put on the table and the deals either happen or they die.  Today is a fun day for the fans, not only of the New York Rangers, but all around the league whether it is to see what your team is going to “buy” or what your franchise is going to get for the players they trade away in hopes of being better next season.  For Rangers fans Brad Richards is the man at the center of the rumors and whether the deal happens may come right down to the 3 pm wire.  Will the Rangers pull the trigger on Brad Richards despite his current concussion and looming free agent status?  If they do, what will it cost them to get him?  For the record, at least on the surface, I am against the move, as I discussed here.  Obviously, as with all trades, the details of the trade will be the ultimate determinant on how they are perceived and judged.
Today the main attraction, possibly league wide, will be his stare down with Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk over Brad Richards.  In one sense Nieuwendyk holds the cards in that he can hold onto Richards and make a playoff push with his club while telling the fans they want to win and there was no offer worth sacrificing this season away for.  By holding onto him, Nieuwendyk also retains the chance over the next four months to work out a deal to keep Richards in Dallas long term.  The interim time would allow the organization to show that their ownership situation is settled and allow Richards comfort in the direction of the team going forward.
On the other hand, Nieuwendyk is in a corner where keeping Richards means he risks losing him for nothing this summer.  Add to that the concussion that is currently sidelining Richards and you have a player who clearly was the best possible piece on the market having a diminished value due to a level of uncertainty with how he will respond and when he can play.  Making matters worse for Nieuwendyk is that if he deals Richards his preference would be to deal him outside the Western Conference.  According to Helene Elliot of the LA Times that is exactly the thinking in Dallas.
Talk now is that Stars will keep Brad Richards instead of trading him. Or at least won't trade him within West. Narrows Kings' options...
If that is the case, in the event they do attempt to move Richards, that further narrows the field of competing offers for Nieuwendyk to use against Glen Sather in their trade discussions.  New York might be the only team in the Eastern Conference that has both the interest in dealing for Richards and the potential for Richards to waive his no-trade clause.  Tampa Bay would be a logical place, but there has been no real discussion about them getting involved.  Toronto has been rumored, but reports were that he would not go waive to go there.  Who would that leave?  Boston?  Have the best trade chip in Toronto’s first rounder, but cap issues that could make a deal difficult. Washington?  That would be one way to shake up their stagnant offense, but they would have cap problems in the move as well and just claimed Marco Sturm off waivers.  Carolina?  This would be an interesting fit as they have the cap space, but who knows if Richards would waive to go there.
Description: am going into today with an open mind because of how well Glen Sather has done in trades lately.  He has done a very good job in protecting the youth of the team, while getting other teams to give him what he wants at his price.  Sather has to be patient with this and remember the big picture as he has done so well to this point.  If they come to the price he wants to pay, then he pull the trigger, and then the rest of us will debate whether the move was worth the final cost.  If not, then do not be afraid to fold your hand, walk away, and wait until July 1.
Either way the drama ends, at least in one sort, no later than the 3pm trade deadline this afternoon.  Should be fun.

2011 Trade Deadline: Which Rangers Defender(s) Could Be On The Move?

Most of the talk on trade deadline will be about whom the New York Rangers might acquire and I will get to that in a few hours, but let us look at which guys on the roster might be expendable, and those who might not be, but could move anyway.  With the addition of Bryan McCabe the Rangers have options because they now possess eight defenders capable of playing at the NHL level.  Which of the members of their defense core could be on the move?
Matt Gilroy:
Gilroy is the most obvious of the Rangers to be on the move, whether it be a move for Brad Richards or not.  He is going to be a restricted free agent that will require a 1.925 million dollar qualifying offer in order to retain his rights which New York is almost assuredly not going to commit to.  Gilroy has played better this season, but not to that level of salary.  
Verdict: Leaves. If the Rangers can get a mid-round pick for him you would have to think they move him along, and someone might just pay it for the offensive potential he has in the right system. Also has the potential to be a salary cap addition to a bigger deal.
Steve Eminger:
Eminger is in a similar situation to Gilroy, but likely has less value in the marketplace.  Eminger is a solid defensive defender who has played well for large portions of the season and would be a very good addition to a team needing to solidify their third paring.  Being an unrestricted free agent with a reasonably low salary of 1.125 million this season makes him available to a lot of teams that are looking, but cannot afford any commitment. 
Verdict: Stays. Eminger’s value to the Rangers is likely higher than the late round pick they would likely get for him.  He has shown he is capable of playing as high as a top four role, but solid in the bottom pairing and a guy they have no problem carrying as an extra defender.

I know Michael Del Zotto should be here, but I will deal with him in another post.

Possible moves from the Minors:

Tomas Kundratek:
Kundratek is an intriguing prospect who is a potential puck moving defender down the line.  He has adjusted well to the professional ranks in the AHL, actually making the transition quicker than Ryan McDonagh to begin the season.  Kundratek is not ready for the NHL level, but he will be sometime next season and would be a very nice piece for a team to add to a deal and that Glen Sather might be tempted to part with because of how deep his young defensive ranks are at the moment.
Verdict: Stays unless Richards trade happens.
Pavel Valentenko:
Valentenko is a name that a lot fans grew to enjoy during the preseason because of his big shot from the point and his enjoyment of the physical game.  I have questions about his foot speed for the NHL level, but there will certainly be teams that could have interest in him as a prospect to add into a deal.
Verdict: Stays.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Video: Tortorella Rips Into Officials, "A Horseshit Call"

While the Rangers have struggled for the better part of two months coach John Tortorella has managed to keep an upbeat attitude about the team and the games for the most part.  Today some of the frustrations of that time and today's lousy officiating came out in full force at how the officiating was in the game.

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants has quotes from the post game press conference in which Tortorella ripped into the refs and the league:.

“It’s a tough one,” Tortorella said. “We gave them *&$)#@ all night long and they beat us five on three on a horse*&$)#@ call to start.

“As the game went on, it was one of those games. Both teams were grinding. I just wish the league would stay the hell out of it and let the teams decide it. It’s bull*&$)#@. There’s too much at stake here.

“We took some stupid penalties but Danny Girardi’s is not a boarding call. It’s just a simple guess. We gave them nothing five on four, nothing and we get beat five on three and it starts with a bad call.”
I would expect that Torts will be receiving a call and a fine from the league for his comments.  Courtesy of Jesse Spector's Blueshirts Blog here is the video of the post game presser.

Lousy Start, Lousy Officiating Doom Rangers in 2-1 Loss to Lightning.

Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images
In a refrain that Rangers fans are tired of hearing, Sam Rosen ended today’s game with, “they just ran out of time.”  This team continues to battle late in games, but they are coming up short in the close ones far too often right now.  Losing the games is one thing, but losing in regulation and failing to get any points is really hurting them both in securing a solid playoff footing and in their ability to rise in the standings.  Other than against Carolina on Tuesday they are just unable to come up with that tying goal late in games and that is why it ended up in a 2-1 defeat against Tampa Bay.  The loss dropped New York back to 14-14-3 at home and that simply is not good enough if you want to go anywhere in the postseason.
I am with everyone that there was some horrific officiating in this one whether it was the phantom boarding call on Girardi or the even more made up interference call on Dubinsky at the blue line when the Lightning play fell on his ass all by himself.  Having said that, the officiating is not responsible for the utter lack of effort the Rangers put on offensively in the first period this afternoon.  This team still seems to fail to grasp the concept of playing 60 minutes and that is not about the officials. Overall the team played an awful first period in which they developed nothing offensively and generated only one lousy shot in the first 19 minutes.  Defensively they played pretty well on the whole, but would give up the only goal. 
The Lightning struck first on a slap shot from Martin St. Louis at the right faceoff circle.  The shot would squeeze through Lundqvist as he was working from side to side to get into position.  Dan Girardi got caught pinching on the play and it led to a 3-on-2 for Lecavalier, St. Louis and Downie against McDonagh and Stepan the two Rangers back.  St. Louis carried the puck down the right side, dropped it back to down who fed it back to St. Louis for the one-time goal.  I will not call it a soft goal, but it is one that Lundqvist usually stops.  Lost in the goal itself was Roloson getting away with illegally touching the puck outside the trapezoid not long before the goal.
New York played a much better second period than first and they would get rewarded on the scoreboard.  The Rangers penalty killing unit was again their best source of offense and led to their only goal.  While down a man Brian Boyle ties up a man in the defensive zone along the wall, Ryan McDonagh picks up the puck and outlets it to Brandon Prust in neutral ice.  Prust collects the puck and skates aroun Marc-Andre Bergeron and in on goalie Dwayne Roloson.  Prust and Roloson collided as the puck went in the net, but the goal stood after a review.  The tally was Prust’s fourth shorthanded goal, which is one off the NHL lead and gave the Rangers 10 on the season.
The penalty kill was brilliant this afternoon in fighting through the combination of lousy penalties by Rangers players and lousy calls by the officials, but you knew if you kept giving them chances that Tampa would finally convert.  They did in the third period.
While on a 5-on-3 the Lightning scored the go ahead and eventual game winning goal. Vinny Lecavalier would score from almost the identical spot as Martin St. Louis, except his one-time was a perfect shot far side off the post.  The reason for the 5-on-3 was some ridiculously bad officiating.  Dan Girardi was called for an awful boarding call at 1:11 of the period and then Brian Boyle would go off for flipping the puck over the glass for a delay of game at 2:04.  Against that offense you cannot be down two men or you will likely be fishing the puck out of the net as they were 2:40 into the third.
The Rangers would again generate chances late, but not find a way to get the tying goal to at least get one point out of the game.
  • McCabe played well in his debut while doing excellent work keeping pucks in the zone and firing his shot at the net.  He will get better, but you already saw that he can make a difference on the power play.
  • No forwards really stood out to me today.  Callahan, Boyle and Prust played well on the PK, but we generated nothing offensively in the game.  Stepan was probably the most noticeable in their zone.
  • Lots of talk about Sean Avery and the 54 seconds he played the last two periods today.

Rangers Analysis: Brad Richards Is The Easy Move, But Not The Right One.

Once the New York Rangers made the move to trade for McCabe yesterday the rumors predictably turned back to discussing Brad Richards being moved to New York.  There really is no easier rumor to write about than that one.  The Rangers love big name players, and they have a need for a first line center.  Richards is the biggest name potentially on the market and well what do you know, he just happens to be a first line center.  As it is the easy rumor to write it is the easy trade for the Rangers to make.  It is the Rangers answer to the Carmelo trade of earlier this week that says to the media and the fans that the team is in it to win the whole thing instead of just squeaking in the playoffs.  The fact that the move is the easy one to make and the flashy one as well does not mean it is the right one.
The Rangers have preached all season about how important the youth and the young core of this team are.  Trading for Richards goes against that movement.  Brad Richards is a great player.  He would be the best offensive player the Rangers have on their roster today.  My concern is not about today, but making sure there is a tomorrow. 
At a minimum, you have to assume that, New York would have to give up at least Artem Anisimov or Michael Del Zotto and a number 1 pick in a package for Brad Richards.  There are surely some who are willing to take that risk whether it is a lack of belief in the development of those Rangers players or the fascination with the big name first line center.  I am not one of those people.  Hopefully Glen Sather is not one of those people either.
After years of building with aging veterans the Rangers rebuilding has reached a point where there is enough contributing youth in the lineup to see the bright future on the horizon.  The same people who complained about the lack of young talent are now ready for a quick fix to improve today.  Cashing in some of those assets for a soon to be 31 year old center who is not only a rental player, but currently out with a concussion is a horrible idea.  Even with Brad Richards the New York Rangers are not winning the Stanley Cup this season. 
I know that is hard for some to hear and they will tell me that anything can happen in the playoffs.  It is true that anything can happen in the playoffs and if every single thing fell right there is the remotest of possibilities they could win it, but I try to deal in more realistic terms.  Richards ensures the Rangers get in, which they will either way, as long as they don’t play Boston or Philly first round that the team wins at least one series.
There is this magic theory for some that if the Rangers trade for Richards he will suddenly decide that he does not need to test the free agent market and sign an extension here before July 1.  Sorry, but I am not buying this at all.  Pierre LeBrun at sort of dealt with this idea last night in regards to Richards.
“I still think July 1 is the best play for Richards. One NHL GM I spoke with Saturday said while he can't make a play for him now, he'll certainly get into the fray July 1. And this is a team that hasn't been remotely linked to Richards this season. Translation: July 1 will be a bonanza for Richards, who will clearly be the top UFA in a weak market.”
It is fun to think about how we could convince him that he loves New York and that he wants to stay here forever and even at a discounted price, and it could all happen, but I do not see any of it happening before he plays the market come July 1.  If you want him to give that up you likely have to overpay him since he has the leverage knowing you dealt assets for him and need to make it worth it by signing him.
Then there comes the question of what Richards is worth in terms of not his past production but his future.  Richards is going to be 31 and coming off a season where he has 24-39-63 in 56 games and even with a concussion issue someone will pay him at least 7 million a year and my bigger problem is the number of years which anything over 3 or 4 means he will be paid to be Scott Gomez in production by year 3.
The combination of cost in being counter to the building around the you for the long haul, the assets, the money, paying for declining production and lack of any guarantee he stays makes trading for him the wrong move.  As I said earlier this week, I am not averse to making a big move and going after a top line talent, but if I am moving a Del Zotto or an Anisimov or both in a deal then I want a young top player who is signed longer term back, not an older one who has hit his peak and had no certainty to his future destination.  The Rangers do not need to make a Carmelo splash. This team is not built on sexy moves anyway.  What they are is a team at critical point where they just need to make the right move which is Paul Stastny and not the easy  one in Brad Richards. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NYR Live Chat: McCabe Trade, Del Zotto Demotion, Richards Rumors, Etc.

Michael Del Zotto Sent Down to Whale; Is He On The Trade Block?

When the Rangers completed their quest to acquire Bryan McCabe a little while ago the questions began as to what the next move would be.  The answer has come quickly, at least for the short term.  According to the AHL transactions page, the team has optioned second year defenseman Michael Del Zotto back down the Connecticut Whale.  The move is somewhat surprising in that Del Zotto has played better of late and the Rangers have discussed wanting to continue to develop him at the NHL level. 

I must caution that this could be a temporary move as the Rangers could make a trade including a defender other than Del Zotto before the trade deadline on Monday and then recall the young player.  There are plenty and will be plenty of rumors floating around about the availability of Del Zotto in a trade over the next few days.  I still will not believe the team is trading him until it actually happens and it should be in a package a healthy front line player who is young and under contract not an expiring deal like Brad Richards.