Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rangers Send Erixon, Newbury Down to CT Whale

Following today's 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators the New York Rangers announced some roster moves sending both D Tim Erixon and F Kris Newbury to the Connecticut Whale (AHL).  Erixon has been up and down with his play thus far this season, while Newbury has been a non-factor while getting little ice time on the fourth line.  It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, will get the call in their place.

Rangers Blow Three Goal Lead, Lose To Senators 5-4 In Shootout

When Brad Richards scored 8:05 into the third period to give the New York Rangers a 4-1 lead many thought it was a safe two points in the standings for the team.  That assumption was a bad one as the Rangers absolutely collapsed in the second half of the third period giving up three goals in the final 10:42 of the game to send the game to overtime.  Milan Michalek netted the only goal in the shootout to complete the Senators comeback and the Rangers collapse.
The game was all about how bad penalties can absolutely swing a game.  The Rangers were awful in the first period and trailed 1-0 when Ottawa’s Zenon Konopka was assessed a major penalty for boarding was at 4:05 of the second period.  After the Rangers failed to tally even a single shot for the first two minutes of the major power play, Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards scored 1:20 seconds apart to completely flip the feel of the game.
Callahan’s goal came when he fired the puck from the faceoff circle after a Brad Richards shot attempt had been blocked by Ottawa.  Richards took a quick feed from Gaborik down load and beat Anderson to give the Rangers their first lead.  After the goal Richards showed the emotion of scoring his first at MSG for New York when he jumped into the boards.
The Rangers continued the momentum early in the third with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards scoring to push the lead to 4-1.  The Rangers forecheck worked on the Gaborik goal leaving Stepan with the puck behind the net to find a streaking Gaborik in the slot for the goal. 
Richards second of the game came when he was paired with Wolski and Richards because Dubinsky and Callahan had just been out on the penalty kill.  Gaborik collected the puck down load and fed Richards for the shot over Anderson’s shoulder and it appeared the rout was on.
The Senators had other ideas as Jason Spezza scored only 1:13 after Richards looked to put the game away when as he deflected Filip Kuba’s shot beyond Lundqvist.  A 4-2 lead still felt safe until Wojtek Wolski took a foolish elbowing penalty to give the Senators the man advantage.  Jason Spezza would make them pay with a beautiful shot from the point to get the Senators within one. 
Milan Michalek tied the game as the Rangers defenders just watched him shoot, collect his own rebound and shoot again with just 2:50 left.
Richards and Gaborik were everything offensively that Rangers fans have been hoping for.  Richards however needs to stop being used in his own zone when you are trying to hold a lead.
Callahan and Dubinsky are getting back to playing more like themselves
Eminger needs to learn how to win a battle in front of the net or go sit in the press box.  Too often replays show him standing in the crease with a player of the opposing team while the puck goes in the net behind Lundqvist.

Avery Get Empty Netter In Whale Debut, Still Not Answer For What Ails Rangers

Sean Avery made his debut for the Connecticut Whale last night, scoring an empty net goal and immediately having a fight as the CT Whale defeated the Adirondack Phantoms 4-2 to take over first place in the division.  The news of Avery being back on the ice and scoring, even if an empty-netter, was welcomed by Avery's Army of fans.  Glad Sean is back on the ice, but he still is not the answer for what ails the New York Rangers. 

Avery at his best plays on the edge in all facets of the game.  He has shown that in flashes over the past couple of seasons, but whether it be Avery himself or coach John Tortorella restraining him there has not been enough of that version on the ice.  When Avery plays without his edge he serves little purpose to the team.  He can still bring some energy and work the cycle down low, if the Rangers establish a forecheck, but it is not enough to warrant the level of cries for his return.  At this stage in his career Avery is likely a fourth line or at best bottom six winger in the NHL.  Yes, Avery can bring energy to a seemingly listless Rangers team at time, but when he is likely going to sit on the bench for 80% of the game it is questionable what if any difference he would tangibly make.