Monday, April 18, 2011

Zuccarello Sent Back To Whale

According to the AHL Transaction Log, the New York Rangers have returned forward Mats Zuccarello to the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League.  Zuccarello, 23, was recalled for the team’s season finale against New Jersey in case the team would need him if the game went to a shootout.  Zuccarello was kept in the lineup for the series opener against the Capitals, but only played 7:34 before being replaced by Sean Avery in the lineup the last two games.  With the play of Avery in the last two games there was no room for Zuccarello to get back in the lineup in the near future, so this is the best move for him.
The Whale are also in a first-round series and trailing 2-1 against Portland.  Zuccarello will be able to add to their offense and gain valuable experience playing a big role in such meaningful games.  In 36 games for the Whale this season Zuccarello had 13 goals and 16 assists in 36 games.

Boudreau Disses MSG Facilities, Insults Volume of New York Fans

There are a few ways a coach can respond to a loss during the playoffs.  Coaches can praise the opposition, build up their own teams efforts or they can go off and talk about something that has nothing to with what goes on at ice level.  Apparently Washington Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau decided the best way to deal with yesterday’s Game 3 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden was to insult the building and New York fans. In an interview with the Washington's 105.9 Radio morning talk show, Boudreau said MSG did not live up to the hype:

“Well, the one thing, its reputation is far better than the actual building,” the coach said. “I mean, it’s nothing. The locker rooms are horrible. The benches are horrible. There’s no room for anything. But the reputation of being in Madison Square Garden is what makes it famous. Also, our building’s a lot louder, too. So I mean, they can say what they want, but it’s not that loud in there.”

The Garden did not get the reputation because of state of the art facilities, but for the number of historic events that have taken place there.  Maybe if he and his team were more concerned about putting some history in his building instead of the accommodations they get the playoff success of his team would be a little better over the past few years.   

If Boudreau thinks the Garden was quiet yesterday when Brandon Dubinsky put in the game winning goal to make this a series, then he needs a hearing aid.  All he did with these comments is find an excuse for it to get louder on Wednesday because the New York fans will take these comments personally and let him have it.  Maybe he has grown accustomed to horns and cowbells as a replacement for actual cheering so he is confused by fans that don’t feel the need to create fake noise or bang the glass incessantly. 

There is no doubt that facilities at MSG need a revamp, which is why the renovations are coming.  To go a step further and insult the New York fans all in an attempt to distract from his team losing yesterday and the discussion of previous year’s playoff failures is over the line.

Dubinsky Takes The Lead When Rangers Need Him Most

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The New York Rangers forward core is not the most skilled group in the league.  The group is one that has few dynamic players capable of creating consistent offense for themselves and instead relies on the team’s grinding system to put them into a position to garner results.  Brandon Dubinsky can certainly play the grinding game and is at his best when he does so, but he also has a different level of skill to make him one of the few forwards the Rangers have that can true difference maker up front.  He was that player in Game 3.
For the first two games of their playoff series against the Washington Capitals he failed to do so and his team was down 0-2 in the series.  After a career regular season in which he recorded 24 goals and 30 assists, Brandon Dubinsky had been a complete nonfactor in to start the playoffs.  That changed in Game 3 of the series and with it, potentially, so did the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
At different points throughout the season it has been Dubinsky who has stepped up to lead the Rangers to victory.  Some night he has done it with his goals.  Other nights he has been the playmaker for a critical tally.  On all of those occasions he has led most through his will and that is what was on display Sunday as much as anything else.  The game winning goal was certainly not the prettiest and will never be mistaken for a highlight reel quality tally.  What the goal did show was the dynamic play that he is capable of and the impact he has when he plays with a level of determination and confidence in his game that was lacking to start the series. 
Dubinsky did much more than just score the game-winner on Sunday.  In 25:45 of ice time for New York, he had the goal plus an assist, and a game-high seven hits.  He along with Brandon Prust and Sean Avery set the tone for a physical game that would bring the Rangers back to the style they must play to be successful.  Beyond just the style, this season has shown, especially in the absence of Callahan, Dubinsky is the only Rangers forward capable of leading the way for this team. 
The playoffs are the time where a team’s best players must step up to the challenge and carry them through.  While he likely would not be a star on a skill laden team like the Capitals, but for New York he is the star they need on the offensive end of the ice.  Sunday afternoon was one of those games for Dubinsky as he breathed life into his team by getting them back in the series against Washington with a chance to even the proceedings on Wednesday night.  Now the Rangers need him to show the way again.

Video: Raffi Torres Lays Out Seabrook With High Hit; Suspension Likely

Raffi Torres of the Vancouver Canucks made his return tonight following a four game suspension for a blindside hit to Edmonton Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle.  Midway through the second period tonight, Torres went high and on the blindside of Brent Seabrook with a hit that immediately led to talk of him being right back on the shelf with another suspension:

The referees on the ice gave Torres only two minutes for interference, but the question for the league will be whether it was a hit to the head that violated Rule 48.  There is no doubt that Torres hit will be viewed in the shadows of his previous hit on Eberle and any disciplinary action the league takes will have that in mind when assessing punishment to Torres. 

The fact that Torres could not go half a game in his return from a suspension without putting himself in the position to be up for review again says a lot and means while Seabrook spent part of tonight’s game in “the quiet room,” it will Torres that a some time to sit and think about the way he is hitting people before stepping back on the ice during these playoffs.