Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tanner Glass Knuckle Busting Right Hand Knocks Out Matt Martin (Video)

Tonight on Long Island Matt Martin of the Islanders and Tanner Glass of the Vancouver Canucks faced off and after losing the early stages of the fight against Martin, Tanner Glass wound up for a right hand that clocked Matt Martin square and knocked him flat on the ice.  Guess it was the elbow pad that was holding Glass back early in the fight because this was the first punch he threw following shaking that thing off.  Check out the punch and also how Glass has to check on his bloody knuckle once he is in the penalty box.

Video: Dubinsky Driving Goal Off Gilroy Bank Pass

Habs Halt Rangers Three Game Streak On Pouliot Soft Goal

Scott Levy/Getty Images

The New York Rangers came into tonight’s matchup looking to extend to a season high four game win streak, but were unable to complete the deal losing 2-1 tonight against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.  There was no third period magic in this one and interestingly enough the outcome moved the Rangers who have been the best team when leading and trailing after two period to a paltry 3-7 when tied following the second intermission while Montreal moved to 8-0 in the same situations.  
The second period saw the Rangers come out strong, but it saw the Canadiens finish it strong dominating the last five minutes of the period including the goal by Spacek to tie it with 1:11 left.  After Lundqvist robbed both Gil and Gionta early he would be beaten by Max Pacioretty on a soft goal from the short side and a bad angle over his right shoulder at 6:03 of the third for the eventual game winner.  Lundqvist has to stop that one and it will lead to another day of hearing about how Henrik gives up all these soft goals and costs the Rangers games.  It is nonsense but he does have to make that save.  TThe Canadiens would hold on with a combination of Auld saves and some luck with Wolski hitting the post with 2:50 remaining in the period.
Rangers came out flying in the first period and after multiple chances would get on the board with a beautiful goal.  As was mentioned about 900 times during the broadcast it started with Henrik Lundqvist stopping the puck behind the net and giving it to Gilroy and Gilroy seeing a streaking Dubinsky down the right wing boards playing a bank pass off the boards which lead Dubinsky into the offensive zone and he would storm around Hal Gill and beat Auld far post with a perfect shot at 4:15 of the first (video).
Montreal got on the board late in the second after dominating play for a considerable amount of time a Jaroslav Spacek shot ends up going through Lundqvist at 18:49.  On the play Brian Boyle took down Benoit Pouliot in front and he would fall into Lundqvist and certainly had an impact on Henrik’s ability to keep the puck out.
This was certainly not the way the Rangers wanted to start this very difficult week of games against four very good teams, but they will have to shake it off and get ready for the scorching Canucks who come in on Thursday.
  • Dubinsky played yet another excellent game for the club, but he did get frustrated late in the game especially after this slewfoot by PK Subban that had no penalty called.
  • Wolski certainly created his share of chances in his first game with the Rangers and showed how dangerous he can be offensively.
  • Gaborik showed chemistry with Wolski and was extremely involved in the first period but mostly disappeared after that.

P.K. Subban Slewfoot on Brandon Dubinsky; No Penalty Called (Video)

If you saw the New York Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight then you witnessed PK Subban's latest bit of dirty antics with what I believe was a slewfoot on Brandon Dubinsky during the third period which amazingly resulted in no penalty on the play. Even if it was not a slewfoot call it has to be at a minimum two minute minor for tripping against Subban.

Subban is quickly earning a reputation around the league as someone other teams are taking notice of for the wrong reasons.  Subban is a tremendous talent, but like other guys who chirp and can be seen as borderline there comes a point where someone looks to make a name good or bad at your expense.  Be interesting to see if the Rangers do something about the play when they go play Montreal again this Saturday.

So was it a slewfoot? Was it just a trip?  Was Mike Richards right about Subban? 

For those unaware of what Richards said...From Team 990's Shaun Starr (via Puck Daddy):
"He's a guy that's come in the League and hasn't earned respect. It's just frustrating to see a young guy like that come in here and so much as think that he's better than a lot of people. You have to earn respect in this League. It takes a lot. You can't just come in here as a rookie and play like that. It's not the way to get respect from other players around the League. "Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, uh, I'm not saying I'm going to do it but something might happen to him of he continues to be that cocky."

Wolski Debuts With Gaborik, Anisimov; Coach Praises D, Talks Experienced D

After some questions based on travel issues when the New York Rangers take the ice tonight newly acquired Wojtek Wolski will be in the lineup, wearing number 86, and he will start with Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik on one of the top two lines.  Some are surprised that Wolski is going to immediately go there because he literally just got here and the way that Sean Avery had played on that line the last few games, but I have none of that surprise as Wolski is a skill guy and you might as well see what he has right away.  It is bad news for Avery both on the ice tonight and in the larger picture because it is a statement however fair or unfair to view it that way on the faith the team has in him to play consistent hockey at a high level worthy of that spot in the lineup.

Full lineup is:
Dubinsky – Stepan – Zuccarello
Wolski – Anisimov – Gaborik
Fedotenko – Boyle – Prust
Avery – Drury – Weise

Staal – Girardi
Eminger – Sauer
McDonagh – Gilroy

With Wolski in the lineup it also means that recent call up Kris Newbury is getting scratched and has been reported by all the writers Torts phrased it as “he got screwed.”

Other notes of interest from the pregame were Torts praising his current group of defense but also would not mind adding a veteran presence to the team.  The debate over getting a veteran of sticking with what they have is going to be one that sticks around for as long as it is until they make a move in all likelihood.

On Wolski Torts made calls around the league and talked to coaches about him but wants to see him with his own eyes.  That makes me chuckle the same way the talk of calling McDonagh up just to watch him practice did because that is what you have scouting departments for.  It might not be fair but it strikes me as an ego thing that Torts comes off as only his eyes can determine what a player has or does not have.

Do Rangers Stick With Current Defense Group Or Trade For Veteran Like McCabe?

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Having completed a look at what Wolski can be at his best and could be at his worst from this morning there is now a need to look at what is next for the Rangers in terms of this young defense.  There seem to be two distinct schools of thought on what the moving of Rozsival out and not bringing back a replacement defender in the deal means for the guys who are here.  There is the one mode of thinking that says the move shows the organization has enough faith in the defenders who are here that they are willing to go with them even as young and/or inexperienced as they are.  The other line of reasoning says the combination of moving Rozi to sure up the offense and the cap savings means the table is being set for a deal to bring in a veteran defender if not right away before the team makes a playoff push.  The question today is really a two part query: Which line of thinking is right on what the Rangers should do; which theory is what the Rangers will do?
In terms of what they should I see both sides of the argument because I do believe that the six guys they have up here along with Del Zotto, and more Kundratek than Valentenko can step in and play if necessary and play solid hockey at the NHL depending on the timeframe.  You know what you have in Staal and Girardi with a workhorse shutdown pair that can compete with anyone in the league.  Michael Sauer for me has been the Rangers third best defenseman all season and has earned the right to be elevated finally to the second pair on defense.  Eminger has played his best hockey in the absence of Rozsival whether that is a coincidence or not, but seems to be the reality.  He has shown he is a capable second pair defender and the Emingers, Sauer pair has performed well together.
What you do not fully know is on the last pairing where you wonder if the good side of Matt Gilroy is here to stay and/or if the team truly trusts him to be a guy they count on, but I do believe that is growing.  In Ryan McDonagh I have said since the summer that what you are going to get from him is nothing flashy but a smart, defensively sound hockey player who will play a simple, steady game with a little bit of nastiness in it.  McDonagh displayed all that in his second NHL game after playing a nervous game on Friday in his debut, but that is the negative to relying on McDonagh as he is a rookie with two games of experience on a team looking to make the playoffs.
For me those six guys are good enough as a young unit to take the approach to ride it out with those guys, hope Del Zotto gets his head right and see where the chips fall considering the oldest defender on the club would be Gilroy at 26.  There are certainly negatives to going with these six guys in that you are playing three guys with less than two years’ experience and currently two rookies.  Add to that the fact that other than Staal and Girardi none of these guys have played anything near an 82 game schedule so fatigue will become a factor.  The most games for any of them is the 69 Gilroy played last year with Eminger basically getting 65 games a season for his career when healthy, Sauer only playing 42 games last season and McDonagh coming out of college already approaching the game limit for a college season.  What you have is in some ways by trying to limit their minutes either to prevent fatigue or lack of full trust the burden on Staal and Girardi seems to be getting deeper and you have to wonder if at some point fatigue for those two horses will set in.
The list of what the negatives to go with the all youth defense is what spurs the speculation that now the Rangers are going to go out and make a move for a veteran defender.  The idea of the veteran is obvious in providing not only a player who could fill the needs of the club, but someone who would instill more confidence from the coach and be a mentor to the young defensive core in much the same way Redden has been with the Whale.  The kind of guy for me that fits that bill is one I talked about last week in Bryan McCabe as he has been a captain so he can provide leadership and a mentor for the young players while also filling the need for more grit in the lineup and someone who’s big shot could help on the power play.  Possibly most important of all is he is a lefty.   As has been pointed out to me as well yesterday is the fact that just because you are a veteran does not mean you are good, but McCabe’s 5-14-19 line with a plus 8 rating certainly shows he has game left and can eat minutes with his average of 21:10 time on ice.
The obvious downside to McCabe or any other free agent to be is that the teams feel they have leverage to fill a Rangers need and will attempt to overcharge for him.  While McCabe would make the club stronger there is no guarantee that adding him becomes the difference between a solid year where you maybe win a round or two as opposed to contending for the title so giving anything of long term value must not be sacrificed.  When I say that I am referring to not only NHL people but also the Juniors and College ranks.  If we are talking deals for the likes of Gilroy and a pick for say McCabe then that is more than fine but if the case is say McDonagh you say no unless it is a special defender.
I sort of come down in the middle with a similar take to yesterday and thinking about trades where the club should ride it out for a little bit to get better looks at Gilroy, McDonagh and how Del Zotto bounces back in Hartford to see what the level of need is for the club.  On the same hand if this team believes it can make a run it is tough to go into a playoff atmosphere with a defensive core that is that young and inexperienced.  The happy medium looks like a scenario where the Rangers play with the six they have and come the deadline if they are where they are or better they make a deal when they have more cap room for the veteran, which is the course I believe they take.

Tell me what you think if they will or if they should make a move for a veteran defender or instead stick with what they have and let the kids grow and gain experience that way.

Lundqvist, Staal All-Stars; Stepan For Rookie Skills; Dubinsky Snubbed?

The NHL today announced the 2011All-Star Game rosters and two New York Rangers were selected for the game and one for the rookie skill competition.  Defenseman Marc Staal and goalie Henrik Lundqvist were named to the game itself and center Derek Stepan was among 12 rookies selected. 
The selection for Staal is the first for the game itself even though he has been a part of all-star weekend before in the NHL Young Guns game which no longer exists.  For Lundqvist this will be his second selection to the team after playing in the most recent game in 2009.  All three of these Rangers were well deserving of going to the game and will represent the team well in Raleigh. 
Staal following a slow start has been phenomenal this season with six goals and 11 assists, while being a top shutdown defender and logging more and more minutes as the season has gone along and now ranking eighth in the league at a ridiculous 25:29 a game.
For Lundqvist, he also had an up and down beginning to the season but his overall numbers still look stellar  at18-12-3 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Those numbers rank Lundqvist tied for sixth in wins, tied for ninth in goals against average, and eight in save percentage.
Stepan is second on the team with 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 43 games and ranks him third in goals and points, and eighth in assists among rookies which makes him a very viable threat for the Calder come year end.
I do not want to take away from the three Rangers who are going to the game, but the obvious candidate for snub from the Rangers is Brandon Dubinsky.  I will not call out any names in particular that based on play and importance to his team this season Dubinsky should have been selected over but his numbers of 16-20-36 rank him tied for 29th in the league and he certainly should have been selected.
Overall the weekend is a popularity contest that concludes with a meaningless game that I would much rather players like Staal and Lundqvist get the rest instead of playing in, but I congratulate them on their deserved selections, look forward to Stepan winning the skills competition and hopefully seeing a good game.
Oh and if you did not know by the end of the weekend you might hear Marc and Eric Staal are actually brothers.

Wolski a Missing Piece To Help a Run or Next In Tortorella's Dog House?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Good Morning New York Rangers fans and for many it is a good morning indeed to have woken up to realize that the trade yesterday of Michal Rozsival for Wojtek Wolski was indeed something that actually happened and not a dream.  As with most things that seem too good to be true the night before there is the next morning where you find out it was really as good as it looked the night before and we have arrived at that point on the trade.  The elation for Rangers fans in removing Rozsival from New York as Jim Schmiedeberg on Blueshirt Banter Radio (which you should all be listening to) last night meant that they did not care if Wolski turned out to be a Polish Sausage it was well worth the move.  That is the prevailing sentiment and I cannot fully disagree but let us ask if we are getting a true player that can help lead a run or another Zherdev ending up in the doghouse?  The answer is no one really knows, but that should make it fun to watch.

Video: Cam Janssen vs. Paul Bissonnette Round 2

Daily Recap: Rangers Trade Rozsival for Wolski; NHL 11 Rejects Trade; Callahan, Prospal Update; Zuccarello NHL Live

It is pretty obvious what the biggest story of the day around the New York Rangers was with the Rangers acquiring Wojtek Wolski from the Coyotes for Michal Rozsival.  Before I even talk about the trade and the full review of it is in the link I want to just for a moment talk about the scene that was the Rangers faithful in the moments from when the Rangers twitter account announced news was coming and the ten or so minutes until it finally came.  After the years of either bad signings or disappointing news there was this scene of collective panic, fear and suspension of breathing not even hoping for good news just hoping to avoid the horrific as that for many has become the baseline expectation of the franchise.  One coping mechanism for many was to make up ridiculous possibilities for the announcement which was quite fun and entertaining to pass some of the team and forget the fear momentarily.
When the deal was finally announced the elation for not only avoiding the dreadful news but actually getting news that excited the fans set off a mass tweeting binge that sent Wolski to the top of the worldwide trending list on twitter for a at least 45 minutes following the news.  That shows me a combination of the reach of Rangers fans and the excitement they had for the trade.
In terms of the trade itself as I said the full review is in the link, and see if it in my opinion it has the ability to make the Rangers a contender this season.  Aside from that and mentioned in there once again Glen Sather worked his magic in trades to eliminate another bad signing from the roster and bring in another young piece that can help the club.  In getting rid of Gomez he got the cap space which gave him Gaborik as well as Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko.  In eliminating Kotalik he save two more seasons at 3 million a year and got Brandon Prust.  In this move he takes a 33 year old defender and turns him into a 24 year old with first line ability while saving 1.2 million a year against the cap.  If all he did was trades Sather would be a King among Rangers fans, so someone just needs to take the checkbook away on July 1.
In a bit of hilarity @mug25 ran the trade that happened through the NHL11 video game and it got rejected.  The photo of what the game said is well worth looking at.  In response to that @LundqvistSaves ran the trade in reverse with PHX doing the offering and it got accepted.  Once again the photo showing the response is worth checking out and very accurate of what actually happened today.
NHL On the Fly actually broke down the trade very accurately so check out that analysis.

Not that it might matter much but this morning in reaction to the Frolov news I looked if the Rangers would be entering the trade market and what they should look at buying.  I thought the team would ride it out for a little bit to see if they needed to make a move before the injured guys get back, but that to contend they would have to make a move and you can tell me if the move they made met the criteria I laid out there.

Beyond trade news there was also some news from practice today as both Vinny Prospal and Ryan Callahan skated, as well as yesterday which contradicts prior reporting on the subject.  In talking with @Jimcerny he sent along this tweet:
@mleetch352 no timetable really for Callahan or Prospal...Torts said today he wants to get to All Star break & hopefully then get guys back
As I responded back while that is not a definitive timetable per say it does say to me that Torts is not expecting anyone back in the next few weeks before the break happens.  That could always change and more like to be sooner on Callahan than Prospal.

Finally Mats Zuccarello was on NHL Live this afternoon to do a phone interview gave us some funny insights into Zuke's personality.