Friday, October 28, 2011

Video: Michael Sauer Makes Sliding Save To Rob Grabovski

In the second period against Toronto, Michael Sauer showed just how the New York Rangers when he missed the previous five games with this spectacular defensive play.  Welcome back Sauer, we all missed you.

Surprise, Surprise Christensen Finds Himself On Top Line With Gaborik Again

The New York Rangers are known for their consistently inconsistent offense.  One thing you can always count on when the team fails to score is that coach John Tortorella will put the lines in the blender and start over again, which he did today at practice. Katie Strang of ESPN New York tweeted the lines:


There are few nice things to say about these line combinations.  What it really shows is how discombobulated the Rangers skill set is throughout their lineup as they have two elite talents that can show up each night, two that have it and no heart, five grinders they rely on and two young players looking to keep developing.

The Boyle line was the only one to survive this time, which is not surprising with Tortorella as that line is foundational for him.  Seeing Wolksi get a chance with Gaborik is something many have called for, but I doubt few if any wanted to see it happen with Christensen as the third member of the top line.  Seeing Christensen get yet another shot on the top line is painful and something that was supposed to end when Brad Richards signed with New York over the summer.  Having Anisimov and Stepan toiling on the fourth line, even if both are struggling, is also frustrating because they are not going to develop or snap out of their funk playing the limited minutes Tortorella uses his fourth line.

Gretzky Not Joining Rangers Winter Classic Alumni Team?

When it comes to the New York Rangers alumni game there are the expected inclusions of Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter and Adam Grave. Beyond that the biggest hope for some has been that Wayne Gretzky would lace them up in Philadelphia, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

According to Pierre LeBrun at Wayne Gretzky told him the following via text…

"No, I'll be with my family for the holidays,'' Gretzky said. "Plus, they don't need to see a 50-year-old slow guy out there!''

Rangers Name Dan Girardi Alternate Captain on Interim Basis

Larry Brooks at the New York Post is reporting that defenseman Dan Girardi will severe as the Rangers second alternate captain on an interim basis until Marc Staal returns to action.  The first sign of this was during pregame introductions for the home opener last night as Girardi was wearing the “A” on his sweater for the first time.  

The choice of Girardi to hold Marc Staal’s “A” while he recovers from his concussion is a phenomenal one.  Girardi has proven alongside Staal and now without him that he is capable of leading the Rangers’ defense corps.  His play thus far this season has been above and beyond what anyone could have expected because of how heavily coach John Tortorella has leaned on him in all situations.  He is playing an astounding 27:34 per game recording one goal, three assists and being a plus three.

More than being Staal’s normal defense partner and the most relied upon guy in his absence, Girardi is deserving of this for the way he plays the game.  Always amongst the league leaders in shot blocking he sets the tone for the Rangers team in their own zone.  When you watch Girardi throw his body around with reckless abandon for his own safety, get dinged up and do it all over again you cannot help but follow suit.

The negative side here is that it likely means Staal is not coming back anytime soon because the Rangers wouldn’t name an interim alternate captain if he was going to return in relatively short order.