Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rumor: Rangers Close To Acquiring Bryan McCabe? Or Maybe Not?

I know it has only been going on for a week or so, but the rumors about how imminent the move of Bryan McCabe to the Rangers is are starting to drag on like Carmelo chatter.  Today, Miami Herald sportswriter George Richards on his blog, On Frozen Pond, says that the deal to make McCabe a New York Ranger is close to being finalized.  There is no mention of who or what would be going the other way in the trade. Like with all rumors they are just that until it is actually done.  McCabe still has not waived his no-movement clause and he was on the team flight to Atlanta this afternoon, which does not preclude the deal from happening, but might eliminate a little of the immediacy to the move. 
According to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel, McCabe’s agent told him that there is nothing imminent, that Bryan is weighing his options and that he has yet to waive his no-trade clause. 
This fact that the agent says there is nothing imminent in terms of McCabe, does not mean that all the reporting and rumors about the deal being close is wrong.  The Panthers and Rangers could be close to terms on a deal to send McCabe to New York while he is in no rush to make a decision on what he wants to do.
As I have said before a large part of feelings about the trade will depend on what the cost of the move is to the Rangers.  I have speculated on what I think the cost will be and whether McCabe is worth that assumed cost.  If the deal goes down we will see what it actually cost and then be able to make a true decision on whether it looks like it will be worth it.  Until then the rumors are going to fly.

Staal Sits While Fedotenko Practices, But Both Uncertain Tomorrow; Gaborik Improving

For those expecting concrete news to come out of today’s New York Rangers practice you will be sadly disappointed as the day had more of a dump it deep in the zone and wait until tomorrow to see if they can chase it down feel to it.  There are updates for Ruslan Fedotenko, Marc Staal and Marian Gaborik to sift through though. 
In the good news department, Ruslan Fedotenko took part in practice again today, this time with some contact and battling.  Signs point to a return in the very near future, with it being possible for tomorrow night against Washington, but they will not know that for sure until tomorrow morning according to Tortorella.  During practice he skated along with Avery, Newbury and Prust.  Getting Fedotenko back would be a huge lift for the club as they are only 5-8-1 since he sprained his shoulder on January 19th and then had his recovery sidetracked by an emergency appendectomy.  If people did not appreciate how important Fedotenko was to the forecheck while he was in there they certainly are aware of it now.
In other positive news, Jesse Spector of the Daily News reports that Marian Gaborik is said to be feeling better, but that coach Tortorella was unsure if he was symptom free.  The team ran some blood work on Gaborik to see if there was any deficiencies in the results, but the coach was not sure what they were looking for and the results had not come back yet to his knowledge.
Now that you have been built up with good news it is time for the potentially bad news of the day.  Marc Staal, who twisted his knee Tuesday against Carolina, sat out practice today, and is said to be having soreness in the knee.  The main complaint though according to Jim Cerny, is about a lack of strength that he feels in the knee.  Staal will test it out tomorrow morning to see if he can go, but Andrew Gross labeled him as “iffy” for tomorrow’s contest against Ovechkin at the Capitals.
No doubt that missing Staal in the lineup would be a huge loss for the defense core, but it might be better to sit him for a game than push him back when he is not ready to go and risk prolonging the issue.
There were a couple of playful stories relayed out by the beat writers that involved Marc Staal today.  The first was how he was getting flak from the guys in the locker room, especially Martin Biron, for not practicing today.  The other was about Staal refuses to call his mother right now and is keeping communication strictly text based while she “cools down.”
Jesse Spector passes along these quotes:
“I have not talked to my mom about it yet,” Marc said. “She’s given me a few text messages, but I haven’t spoken too her on the phone. Not until I let her calm down. That’s probably the worst conversation out of the (family).”

McIlrath Shows New York Rangers How To Defend Their Goaltender (Video)

There has been a lot of discussion this year about whether the New York Rangers should have taken offensive defenseman Cam Fowler instead of Dylan McIlrath with the 10th pick in 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  The lure of Fowler is understandable and even more intriguing with the second year struggles of Michael Del Zotto, but last night McIlrath showed why Rangers fans should be excited that Gordie Clark took him. For years there have been complaints about how we have no defensemen that stand up for their teammates or make opponents pay a price for taking runs at Henrik Lundqvist, and on this night McIlrath did both.  If he does this when he gets to New York, the current number 8 in Moose Jaw will be as beloved as Rangers number 8 Brandon Prust currently is.
While it happened at the end of the game we are going to start with McIlrath taking exception to his goalie Thomas Heemskerk getting run and it leading to a line brawl.  With less than two seconds left in the 3-0 Warriors win, Broncos forward Jordan Peddle ran Heemskerk and there was no hesitation from McIlrath to beat him for it. 
McIlrath likely has a suspension coming for getting an instigator penalty inside of the five-minute mark of the third period, but his Warriors are not going to stand for someone running their goalie.
Think the Rangers could use some of that mentality?  I certainly do.  Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh have added that to an extent this year, but it is still far too little and the statement is far too weak to make any opponents think twice about running their franchise netminder.  A statement like this could certainly change that.  Now I do not want McIlrath to be a Dale Purninton and feel he has to fight all the time, especially if he is supposed to be a top defender because his value is on the ice.  Now that I am on record with that, I have absolutely no problem if he drops them for a purpose and this certainly had one.
As I alluded to earlier, this was not his only “incident” on the evening.  McIlrath would get his night going early in the first period as Swift Current Broncos forward Andy Blanke was looking for someone to fight and looking to entice Dylan’s teammate to going, but he stepped in instead.  During the bout McIlrath destroyed Blanke with lefts early, then some rights before Blanke would land a couple good shots.

For more on this and everything else Rangers prospect related head over to The Prospect Park.

Rumor: Cost For Rangers To Rent Brad Richards Astronomical/Comical

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
There is no surprise that when the New York Rangers would call Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk when his team began to slide down the standings to see what the cost of obtaining his star center Brad Richards would be.  The Rangers have a need for a first line center to play with Marian Gaborik and hopefully light the fire under his “underperforming season.”  It is somewhat surprising that the call was still made considering Richards is currently out with a concussion, but he is said to be on the mend and could return soon.  What is most surprising though is the price that Nieuwendyk reportedly told Rangers GM Glen Sather he wanted New York to pay for the ability to rent Richards.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post the cost Nieuwendyk quoted Sather on Tuesday was Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan.  Say what?  If that is true, which I find hard to believe because it is just so ludicrous to have the gall to ask for that level of a package for a rental, then I want Nieuewendyk checked for post-concussion symptoms. 
I have been one who has always said that Dallas was going to need a big package to deal Richards, but that is ridiculous.  Marc Staal, a 23-year-old All-Star defenseman who, as I wrote yesterday, is New York’s most irreplaceable player.  Brandon Dubinsky, a 24-year-old forward who has been not only the team’s leading scorer, but was the best player on the club for long stretches.  Derek Stepan, a 20-year-old rookie forward who has adapted quicker to the NHL than most could have expected and been a bigger impact as a rookie than any could have hoped.
Asking for any one of those three guys in a package for Richards is something I would have understood as a rational point to start a negotiation, but asking for all three of them in the same deal for a guy who has a concussion, is a rental player, and still has yet to waive his no-move clause to say he would come let alone stay in New York is basically standup comedy.  Either the reporting or sourcing was bad on this information or Nieuwendyk wanted to make it crystal clear that he had no actual intention of dealing Richards by coming out with a ludicrous demand. 
As the deadline gets closer, if the Stars continue to fall down the standings and Richards makes it clear he will test the free agent market the pressure on Nieuwendyk to get something for him will increase, but when you are starting from such a reportedly ridiculous place, having the price come down does not mean it will ever land on reasonable.  I personally have trouble believing that a demand like this can be true because of how utterly outrageous it is, but maybe I am giving Nieuwendyk too much credit.  Maybe I just do not want to think that one GM would insult another GM's intelligence in such an egregious fashion.
In the end, regardless of the price the Rangers should just wait until the summer if they really want Richards and see what the landscape looks like then.  There is no reason to trade any assets from the future for a guy who currently has a concussion and has given every indication that he plans on hitting the free agent market this summer.

Video: Ryan O'Byrne Face Gashed By Taylor Hall Skate

Players being cut by skates in the NHL luckily are a rare occurrence, but Wednesday's incident when Edmonton Oiler's forward Taylor Hall's skate gashed Colorado Avalanche defender Ryan O'Byrne showed just how much damage can be done.

The play happened early in the first period with the puck behind the Colorado net.  Hall was between Matt Duchene and O'Byrne and in attempting to jump over there sticks and did not make it.  Hall would lose his balance and during his fall to the ice his feet came up with his right skate cutting O'Byrne in the face.  Somehow O'Byrne managed to finish his shift and then skate off under his own power and he was escorted to the locker room for treatment, but then taken to a nearby hospital.  No official word on the number of stitches it took to close the lacerations to his face.