Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Night Rangers Chat: Gaborik Concussion, Rumors, Playoff Race

Rumor: Rangers Will Pass On Souray, McCabe Top Target

Per Marc Spector of Sportsnet, the Rangers had another roundtable discussion concerning whether to put a claim in on Sheldon Souray on re-entry waivers and they have once again decided to pass.  This is great news in my opinion considering the reports coming out of his performances for the Hershey Bears in the AHL.  If you are too slow to play in the AHL, then there is no way that you are able keep up with the pace of an NHL style game.  His big point shot certainly intrigues many, but the combination of his lack speed and the 2.7 million dollars on the cap this summer were obviously too much for Sather and company to bite on.  Credit to Sather and his people for not taking the bait.

The other half of Spector’s tweet deals with the fact that now they have given up on Souray for good they are turning their focus to McCabe.  McCabe is someone that has been discussed before as I shared this morning, Pierre LeBrun at ESPN wrote that the Rangers are definitely in on Bryan McCabe, but that the Panthers are hoping the Kaberle deal set the market for McCabe and that the Rangers do not want to approach that price tag for the Florida veteran. 

Being back in the lineup certainly adds to the attraction, but price is going to be the key to whether Sather pulls the trigger.

Rangers Costly Afternoon: Lose Game To Flyers, Gaborik To Concussion

The New York Rangers came into today’s game looking to respond from their awful performance on Friday night and get a monkey off their back against the rival Flyers.  They were able to successfully pull off the former of those goals, for half the game at least, but they would fall to Philadelphia for the fourth consecutive time this season.  At this point it is not an exaggeration to say they own the Rangers and these dreams that many fans have that this team can beat Philly in a playoff series are more like fantasies right now. 
At some point the Rangers are also going to have to realize that against all teams, but especially the better ones, you have to play a 60 minute game if you want to win.  Instead what we had today was a game eerily similar to many of late where the Rangers trail by two after the second period, making a furious comeback attempt in the third and come up short.
New York came out like an inspired team early in the first period.  The team pushed the pace, got the forecheck working and creating a number of early scoring chances, which actually netted a reward for a change.   At 12:43 of the first period Wojtek Wolski would give the Rangers the first goal in the game for the first time in eight games.  Ryan McDonagh would fire a shot from the point which was wide on the short side and it would end up on Wolski’s stick in the slot.  His shot would tickle through Boucher, but Wolski would make it a no doubter as he got his stick on the puck again on the goal-line before Boucher could glove it.
After the goal the Rangers forgot they have to keep playing that way and the Flyers would dominate the rest of the first period.  With just over three minutes to play in the first, Jeff Carter would score and erase all the good work New York had done to that point in the game.  The goal itself was relatively lucky as the Flyer threw the puck at the slot and it went off Carter’s stick, through the traffic in front and beat Lundqvist five-hole.
Following the first period Marian Gaborik did not return to the game and after the game it was announced that he has a concussion, which is not thought to have been suffered in this game. 
The second period was abysmal.  The Flyers wanted everything more than the Rangers and unlike New York, when they got their chances they cashed them in.  The Flyers were given a gift power play just past the mid-point of the period when Wolski was given two minutes for boarding on an obvious dive.  Philly would score just 23 seconds into the man advantage when after Lundqivst made a tremendous save on Jeff Carter, Carter threw a beautiful backhand pass to Claude Giroux who lifted the puck over a downed Lundqvist.
The Flyers would add another later in the period, Dan Carcillo would get behind both Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer and slide a soft backhand shot by Lundqvist to make it 3-1.
Brian Boucher would go down just under five minutes into the period after taking a knee to the head from teammate Kimmo Timmonen, but he would stay in the game.  Just 34 seconds after that Derek Stepan would get a tap in goal to make it 3-2 with plenty of time remaining on the clock. 
Despite dominating the rest of the period the Rangers would fall and Versteeg would cap it with an empty-netter with 45.3 seconds left on the clock.
  • Derek Stepan was everywhere today and his line with Wolski and Zuccarello was clearly the Rangers best as it was when it was together earlier in the year.  Hopefully they will be left together now.
  • Ryan McDonagh keeps up his tremendous play.
More later when the Rangers announce the recall ahead of the huge game at Carolina on Tuesday.

Gaborik Out With Concussion; Has He Been Playing With It?

Marian Gaborik was held out of action today following the first period and after the game it was announced that the New York Rangers winger has a concussion.  Gaborik apparently went to John Tortorella after the first period and told him that he was not feeling well and he was subsequently held out of the rest of the game.

There has been no announcement as to the severity of the concussion and with these types of injuries a timetable for a return is always uncertain.  What actually disturbs me more than the injury news itself is some of the comments made by coach John Tortorella following the game about the injury.  Per Steve Zipay, when asked about Gaborik Tortorella said that “He's been off,” and that he was not sure when the concussion happened, but probably not in this game. 

While the fact that this might have been a longer term thing might ease some fans minds about his play for me it is very alarming.  I say that because it opens the door to the possibility that Gaborik has been playing through these symptoms.  I certainly hope that is not the case because there is no excuse for the team to be playing a player with symptoms or the player to hide symptoms to stay on the ice.  Concussions are difficult to diagnose and the symptoms can be tricky, but with the growing concern over these issues all precautions from all sides should be taken.

Update: Per Andrew Gross, it appears there have been conversations, but no concrete indications of issues with Gaborik concerning a possible concussion.
“Gaborik was playing along,” Tortorella said, adding Gaborik came out of today’s day after complaining of being off, which, Tortorella said, was the first time Gaborik had given the Rangers any concrete indication. “I know he’s had some conversations off the ice, he just wasn’t dead on. But that’s something we’re going to have to talk to him and Rammer (trainer Jim Ramsey) about.”

Trade Deadline Rumors: McCabe, Kuba, Souray, Neil

Rumors surrounding the New York Rangers are coming fast and furious this morning.  Some of the rumors concern what the Rangers will do before the trade deadline, but others concern what will happen with the team this summer and how it will impact next year’s cap situation.  Since there are so many here are the deadline ones first.
Concerning the trade deadline:

Pierre LeBrun at ESPN writes that the Rangers are definitely in on Bryan McCabe, but that the Panthers are hoping the Kaberle deal set the market for McCabe and that the Rangers do not want to approach that price tag for the Florida veteran.  McCabe returned to the lineup last night, after being out with a broken jaw, and would be a very good veteran addition to the team, but not at anything near the Kaberle cost.  The highest I would probably go McCabe is similar to what Brewer got, possibly our extra second and Gilroy.  The toughness, experience, ability to run a power play and big shot make Bryan a very attractive target, but price is key.

In the New York Post, Larry Brooks writes that it is unlikely the Rangers will claim Souray.  Hopefully this is right as the Souray was put on re-entry waivers yesterday with Edmonton hoping that a team looking for power play help would panic and bite on him.

Over at the Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch  jumps on the idea that Larry Brooks floated earlier this week in the Rangers interest in Senators defender Filip Kuba.  I hate this idea the more I think about it, but here is the original report from Brooks and my thoughts on the move.  Garrioch also chimes in on the Rangers and their own defenseman Matt Gilroy saying..

New York doesn’t have any veteran blueliners and has been trying to move D Matt Gilroy all season.
Also, last night Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News passed along a report that had multiple sources claiming the Rangers have interest in Ottawa forward Chris Neil.