Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dance Mats Zuccarello-Aasen Dance

In his time with the New York Rangers Mats Zuccarello has shown great moves on the ice, especially during shootouts.  Now thanks to a readers posting a link in the comments section and emailing, the fans have the ability to play puppet master of the Norwegian Hobbit.  The site allows you to control how Mats moves on the dance floor by making his arms and legs do whatever you tell them to.  A couple weeks ago this was done with Jokinen and that was fun to play with for different reasons, but you get to pull the strings on the Frodo from Modo.  Be nice as you get to play Geppetto with him.
Have fun…
Click on the link for the fun to begin.

New York Rangers Guardian Revealed

I have laughed at the others that have been revealed and now I fully understand the shame those fans felt when their team had its 'Guardian' revealed.  All I can now is, seriously? The only narcoleptic confusion the Rangers possess is their power play and we did not need a character to tell us that.  What is up with that hover horse?  The last thing I think of when I think New York City is a motorcycle.  Imagine how long it would take to get that thing jacked.  Please just make this thing disappear.

Sean Avery Strips Down For Skin Cancer Campaign (Photo)

It is no secret to fans of the New York Rangers that Sean Avery is a fan the fashion world.  Avery has pursued multiple opportunities in that world from interning at Vogue to presenting a clothing line with Commonwealth Utilities during fashion week in New York City.  This foray into the fashion world has Avery is a different one for Sean.  This time Avery is lending his face, and maybe more importantly his bare body, to Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs "Protect The Skin You're In" campaign.
The purpose of the campaign, regardless of whether one likes or dislikes Sean Avery, is an important one in that it seeks to raise awareness and funds for research to fight the deadly disease of Skin Cancer.
From the campaign's official Facebook page:
Marc Jacobs has reissued color versions of some of the most popular "Protect the skin you're in" celebrity nude T-shirts as part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the deadly skin cancer and benefit melanoma research at the NYU Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. The campaign, which features more than a dozen celebrities baring all for skin cancer, has already raised over $1 million for the NYU School of Medicine's Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group (IMCG).
I am sure that being a part of this will lead to many different digs at Avery from those who do not like him, but that is part of what endears Avery to his fans.  Reality is the cause is a worthy one and if Sean Avery can use his body, his image or anything else to raise money for it, then all the power to him in doing so.
Stick salute to Puck Daddy 

Official Or Not Rangers Announce Mats Zuccarello Is Here To Stay

Photo by: avigerver
Following last night’s game to close out the Rangers schedule prior to the All-Star break the team optioned down five players to the Connecticut Whale.  All of the players sent down came up to fill spots vacated by the myriad of injuries to the NHL roster.  One player noticeably absent from the list of those heading back to the AHL was Mats Zuccarello.  It is no surprise that Zuccarello was not on the list, but as much as head coach John Tortorella tries to skate the question, him not being there was a statement on Zuccarello being here to stay.  When all the missing forwards return to full healthy Zuccarello has earned his place to be in this lineup every night.
It has only been 17 games in the NHL, but he has proven he belongs and that he brings elements to the Rangers they do not have without him.  There is the obvious of his shootout expertise, in which he is a perfect 4-for-4, but even that is a symbol of something larger.  Possibly the most important characteristic that Zuccarello brings to the Rangers is a swagger the team does not have enough of as a unit.  It is that swagger that allowed Zuccarello to take a penalty shot in his NHL debut like he had been doing it for years at this level.  It is that swagger that allows him the confidence to employ the same exact move on all of his shootout attempts without a thought to trying a different one until someone shows they can stop it.
Obviously to go with that confidence and swagger one must have the skill to deliver and he certainly has the goods.  Zuccarello is a combination of vision, speed, passing ability, grit, finish and creativity that have made all who have played with him better.  Those skills were on display last night as he had a career high three assists to boost his season totals to 3-8-11 in those 17 games. 
On a team that lacks creativity, high level talent, and swagger Zuccarello is the perfect mix for this Rangers club and the fact he has proven he can perform at the NHL level has made him a critical piece to the team’s hopes this season. There will be debate in the coming weeks as players begin to return from injury as to exactly where Zuccarello fits in the lineup, but there shall be no debate whether or not he does have a place. 
Even with his activation, mentally I am discounting anything significant from Vinny Prospal this season, but for the sake of this exercise let us assume he comes back.  If Prospal does come back we can safely assume he will get an opportunity to try and spark last year’s success with Marian Gaborik again.  I see the two most successful lines for the team over the course of the season being reunited when healthy.  For  me that leaves Stepan, Avery, Gaborik, Prospal, Wolski, Zuccarello as the other six forwards with Drury and Christensen both other outside looking in.  To me those lines set up beautifully for the Rangers as Wolski, Stepan, Zuccarello played very well together and Avery, Prospal, Gaborik should work well as all have had chemistry with one another.
If the Rangers make the decision to role four lines they will have depth that rivals any team in the NHL. Ignoring the order, if possible, I would roll these four lines and look to keep the even strength minutes pretty even at roughly 12 minutes per line. 
Players like Dubinsky, Callahan, Boyle, Prust will get an addition 3 minutes a game killing penalties.  Dubinsky and Callahan along with Gaborik, Prospal, Zuccarello, Wolski, Stepan will also get additional minutes on the power play unit.  These lines are deep enough and even enough that having most of the forwards playing between 12 and 18 minutes a night will not be a hindrance to the on ice results game-to-game and it should keep everyone involved fresh for the stretch and playoff run.  A run that Zuccarello will be instrumental in helping them make.

Rangers Activate Callahan, Prospal And Return Whale to Pack; Caution on Prospal Activation

According to Andrew Gross, the Rangers are going to use the NHL All-Star break as a chance to allow many of the recent recalled players to go back to the Connecticut Whale and continue playing.  Here is what he had to say during his recap of last night's loss: 
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forwards Evgeny Grachev, Brodie Dupont, Chad Kolarik and Kris Newbury will be rejoining Connecticut tomorrow. Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi are expected back for the Rangers home game against the Penguins Tuesday but there will likely be some forwards brought back to the NHL club.
This move is the right one for the present and future of all the individual players and the organization.  Players like Del Zotto and Grachev are at a stage where they need to play as many games and minutes as possible.  Both of these players looked better than they did the last time they were up with the Rangers, but there is still significant work ahead for them to be here regularly.  Del Zotto is certainly closer than Grachev to reaching that marker, but the defense also has significantly less injuries at the moment and all six that are here have clearly outperformed him.
Along with the moves to send these five back to the AHL, the New York Rangers also activated Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal from IR.  The news on Callahan is that he is expected to be back for the game against the Penguins, which will be a huge lift to the club.  Dan Girardi is also expected to be back after missing the last two games with a rib injury. 
The news on Propsal is less clear as it has seemed to be all season.  The reason for the activation seems to be the Rangers needing a 20th player on the active roster in order to send all five players back to Connecticut and not because he is that close to returning.  The news on Prospal is encouraging, but do not expect him to be in the lineup on Tuesday as many originally surmised from the news he was being activated.
As Gross said, some of these players will likely be back before the team plays its next game on Tuesday against the Penguins, but do not expect them all to return.  If Callahan is the only Rangers forward to return to the lineup after this break than I would expect Newbury to definitely return with the other spot likely going to Kolarik.  I do not see the need to carry an extra young player as a scratch consistently when they can play in the AHL and continue their development.
Any players that are going to be recalled will likely happen either on Sunday or Monday.