Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hard-Working Isles Edge Rangers

Post-Game Thoughts:
  • Rangers came out flat and stayed that way throughout this entire contest. They seemed to be disengaged all night, made very sloppy passes, didn't win enough puck battles and were not able to sustain any offensive pressure most of the game. 
  • Give credit where credit is due; The Islanders worked hard for 60 minutes and were very aggressive against the Rangers, which seemed to disrupt them all game. The Isles' record (2-4-5) doesn't reflect how well they've played at times.
  • Dwaye Roloson was not tested very much all night. However, he owes the post & crossbar a steak dinner: 5 posts hit by the Rangers which could have been goals and a different game altogether. 
  • Congrats to P.A. Parenteau getting his 1st NHL goal tonight. He subbed in adequately for Marian Gaborik.
  • Enver Lisin made a lot of Rangers fans frustrated tonight, ringing a shot off the crossbar and whiffing on some quality scoring chances. 
  • One of the few games this season were the Rangers PP was ineffective.
  • Sean Avery won't be able to sleep good tonight, failing to bury a tap-in goal late in the 3rd. While he's tossing and turning, he should figure out how to be an effective, in-your-face player again.
  • Allowing the opposing team to win 36 face-offs is not a recipe for a win. 
Next Game: NYR will be in Minnesota Friday night 8:00pm start.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rangers Prove Wily Against Coyotes

Post-Game Thoughts:
  • Just what the doctor ordered to get off the 3-game snide. The Rangers got back to basics and it paid off tremendously for them.
  • Marian Gaborik notched another 2 goals, tying Anze Kopitar for the league lead with 10. However, you must hold your breath until we find out why Gaborik limped off in the 3rd to the locker room and did not return.
  • King Henrik showed no ill effects to the slight foot injury he suffered in Montreal on Saturday, allowing only 2 goals.
  • Brandon Dubinsky nearly made up for his mediocre game in Montreal with his great set-up for Gaborik’s 1st goal. Nearly.
  • The Young Guns (Enver Lisin, Artem Anisimov) both got on the score sheet with goals. It has to especially feel good for Lisin to score against the team that traded him away. If you’re keeping score, Lisin has 8 points so far (3 goals, 5 assists) and Lauri Korpikoski (the player sent to Phoenix for Lisin) has 0 points. Steal?
  • Michael Del Zotto is a godsend to the Rangers PP. 2 more assists puts him at 11 points, leading all rookies in scoring.
  • Christopher Higgins had an encouraging game tonight in response to his lackluster game plus benching in Montreal. You can almost feel how close he is to getting his 1st goal.
  • How long before we see the real Chris Drury? I understand he is the captain and that, while his defensive game has been solid, he has shown barely any offense. If Tortorella wants to stay true to his word, Drury needs to have his time reduced until he finds his game.
  • Think there’s any correlation between Donald Brashear’s absence and the Rangers 3-game losing streak? Despite his play not being up to par while in the lineup, the Rangers broke their losing streak with his return to the lineup.
Next Game: NYR heads to Nassau to face the Islanders Wed. night 7:00pm

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rangers Miss the Point Against Canadiens

Post-Game Thoughts:
  • John Tortorella will have plenty to bark about (21 giveaways to boot) at the Rangers in the days that follow. This might have been the sloppiest defensive effort for the Blueshirts so far this season and were lucky to even walk away with a point.
  • Both Brandon Dubinsky and Christopher Higgins were benched for the entire 3rd period, Dubinsky for his turnover that directly led to Dagostini's goal and Higgins for his lack of hustle on Cammalleri goal right before the 2nd period ended. If you're not going to play hard, you shouldn't play.
  • Adding to the last point, Christopher Higgins has to be absolutely frustrated with himself. Not only is he mired in a deep scoring funk, but he gets benched against his former team in a losing effort.
  • The line of Gionta (2 assists)-Gomez (2 assists)-Cammalleri (Hat Trick, 1 assist) is certainly dangerous and one of the top lines in the league.
  • The Rangers snapped their streak of 8 straight games with a PP goal.
  • You're lying if you didn't hold your breath when you saw Henrik Lundqvist down in pain. The running in to Lundqvist has to cease immediately or we won't be saying how he dodged another bullet.
  • Good to see Artem Anisimov score. He was one of the few bright spots in the game, as he was pressed into service with Dubinsky and Higgins being benched.
  • Marian Gaborik scored a beauty of a goal of a nifty deke. However, he doesn't get a full pass and could have easily been benched by Tortorella. Gaborik was also on the ice for Cammalleri's OT winner.
Next Game: Monday night @ MSG against Phoenix

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rangers Allow Devils to Exorcise MSG Demons; lose 4-2

*Excuse my absence after the San Jose game. Not only was I not able to watch the game, I was too ashamed to even write about what I did see.
Post-Game Thoughts:
  • It’s very rare to watch a Rangers Devils matchup and not see a competitive, exciting game. This was no exception. A physical edge, end-to-end action etc.
  • The stud pairing of Dan Girardi-Marc Staal did not have a good game at all. Staal’s neutral zone turnover lead to Bergfors’ goal and Girardi’s passiveness allowed Zubrus to walk in front of Lundqvist and deflect the game-winning goal for New Jersey. Despite putting points up, Girardi has not been his consistent, reliable self early on this season. Tortorella called Girardi out after the preseason, saying he didn’t have a great camp and called him out again after the game last night, saying his play was “average.”
  • Brashear was a healthy scratch for this game and I’m OK with that. In fact, let him ride the pine for a while. I think he’s better used sparingly and should only be used in games against overly physical teams.
  • We saw John Tortorella mix up the lines quite a bit in this game, something he likes to use if he feels the lines have become stale or is trying to jump start players (Callahan, Higgins). Good to see Enver Lisin get some 1st line time along side Prospal and Gaborik.
  • The 3 Million Dollar Man a.k.a Ales Kotalik scored a beauty of a goal to tie the game at 2. If not for a brilliant save by Marty Broduer in the 2nd period, Kotalik would have had 2 goals.
  • I was very impressed with New Jersey’s extra effort tonight, especially on defensive plays they didn’t give up on. Colin White’s diving poke check on Ryan Callahan late in the game is a prime example as the Devils did this multiple times tonight.
  • 8 straight games now with the New York scoring a PP goal. Somewhere, Perry Pearn is sulking.
  • I cannot fully blame Lundqvist for the game winning goal because, if not for some spectacular saves, this game would have been out of reach. However, I thought Henrik could have been a bit more aggressive on that 3rd goal. Even he would agree he could have.
Next game: Saturday in Montreal 7:00pm start

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brashear’s Dreadful Play Not Helping To Quiet “Mistake” Talk

With the New York Rangers going in a different direction in the offseason, management decided to let FW Colton Orr, considered to be the “enforcer” of the team, walk as a unrestricted Free Agent – allowing the Toronto Maple Leafs to sign Orr to a multi-year contract for around $1 million per. The hole created was quickly filled with the acquisition of UFA Donald Brashear, a long-time veteran and seasoned “tough guy.” To say the signing of Brashear was not only received poorly by fans, but, viewed as a mistake by them as well is a slight underestimation.

Brashear draws the ire of Ranger fans not just for his abrasive and, at some times, reckless play over the years as members of the Philadelphia Flyers or Washington Capitals (considered a “goon” by some people) but more so for his blind-side head shot of former Ranger Blair Betts in Game 6 during last season’s Easter Conference Quarterfinals. The hit, which was not penalized, caused Betts to suffer a concussion – missing the rest of the playoffs as the Rangers went on to lose the series in Game 7. Blair Betts was not signed in the offseason and walked as a free agent. Currently, Blair Betts is healthy to play but remains unsigned.

Coach John Tortorella has defended the acquisition of Donald Brashear on numerous occasions early in the season, saying the reason Brashear was chosen instead of re-signing Colton Orr is the coach feels Brashear is an overall better hockey player; having more of an offensive game and is a better skater. Through 9 games so far, it would seem the opposite is true. Brashear has not recorded a point, is a -3 (he was on the ice for 3 goals against San Jose), has taken some deflating penalties, and in his 2 fights has looked like a shell of his former self. At 37, you have to question if Donald Brashear is still capable of being an effective hockey player.

* Post-Script: My biggest problem with Brashear so far has been the fact opposing teams, mainly the Toronto Maple Leafs, have taken runs at Henrik Lundqvist with no response by him or any other player. Part of playing the “enforcer” role on a hockey club is to stick up for teammates and, if needed, send a message that messing with our top players will not be tolerated. Brashear has not come close to fulfilling that obligation and that is an ugly string of words.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vally In For Shark Attack

Steve Zipay over at Blue Notes reports that backup Steve Valiquette will get the start against San Jose tonight @ MSG. Valliquette's last start came came against the Anaheim Ducks, shutting them out 3-0.

- Tortorella is playing the gambling man here. I understand the reasoning of the move (Western Conference team, Lundqvist needs rest for contests against Devils, Canadiens later in the week) and Vally did look good against Anaheim.  Yet, San Jose is no joke - best in the NHL so far and have a lethal offense. I hope his hunch pays off here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Leaf Blowers: Rangers Leave Toronto with 7th Straight Win

 Post-Game Thoughts:

- Break em’ up! The Rangers are on a roll right now, notching their 7th win a row making this the longest win streak since the 06-07 season. New York simply outworked a Toronto team very shaky and in search of answers early on. They’re off to their worst start (0-6-1) since 1990-91 and appear to have no end in sight.

- Finally, a better played 2nd period, with 2 goals early on. I’ve mentioned lately that the 2nd period has been sort of a road block for NY early in the year but were able to play a great 20 minutes.

- I do understand the struggles of the Maple Leafs, however, that doesn’t excuse them for their reckless behavior and disregard for G Henrik Lundqvist. There’s a fine line between driving hard to the net and intentionally trying to run a goaltender and, in the 2 games these teams have played, Toronto has crossed that line. Now, it would be nice if someone on this Rangers team sent a clear message to not mess with their franchise goalie.

- A welcomed sight seeing Marc Staal score a beauty of a wraparound goal, showing more of a willingness to get involved offensively. Every D-man, except Girardi, was on the scoresheet tonight. Through 8 games, New York leads in the NHL in goals by defensemen with 9.

- Marian Gaborik didn’t display any 3rd period heroics on this night; he didn’t need to. He did, however, notch 2 more assists. Best off-season acquisition?

- 14-3 outscoring of the opposition in the 3rd period. Awfully tough to beat.

- Pretty quiet game for Sean Avery. That’s not something the Rangers want to hear more often this season.

- Among all the positives for the Rangers in this game and so far this season there is one glaring negative; team discipline. John Tortorella addressed it prior to the game, yet New York took 6 more penalties. Even though the penalty kill has been outstanding (8th best in the NHL entering the game); it won’t last and some team will exploit it. San Jose (NY’s next opponent) could be a candidate.

Next Game: Mon 10/19 @MSG vs. San Jose

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kotalik Could Be Rewarded; Practices on 3rd Line

Andrew Gross over at Ranger Rants observed Rangers practice today and noted that Ales Kotalik, playing on the 4th line of late, was practicing with Sean Avery and Artem Anisimov on the 3rd line. The head coach has said numerous times he will find a spot for Kotalik to log more minutes if he plays well.

Also, Donald Brashear, scratched last game with general soreness, was participating in practice and skated with Brian Boyle and either Aaron Voros or Enver Lisin; indicating either one of those 2 forwards will be a scratched for Saturday's game in Toronto.

Here's what the lines looked like:


Defensive pairs stayed the same as in recent games.


- Kotalik has been nothing short of superb so far for the Rangers. He, along with the emergence of Michael Del Zotto as a legitimate PP QB, has been the reason why the Rangers power play is a threat every time out. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have a howitzer for a shot as well. If Kotalik continues to put up points, and Chris Higgins struggles to score, look for Tortorella to slot Kotalik along side former Sabre teammate Chris Dury on the 2nd line (which, in turn, could jump start the offensively challenged Drury, whom Kotalik had chemistry with).

- Who sits against Toronto will depend on whether Tortorella wants another big body (Voros) or to give the 4th line some speed and a touch of offense (Lisin). I'd sit Voros simply because Lisin has been playing well of late.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

King Henrik Reigns Supreme, NY wins 4-2

Post-Game Thoughts:

- The Rangers are getting the breaks and are rolling now. 6 in a row, a 4-0-0 start at MSG and, dating back to last season, are 12-0-1 in their last 13 regular season games.

- It seems to me the Rangers have good 1st periods, excellent 3rd periods, and sloppy 2nd’s (no pun intended, Sean). All kidding aside, nearly every game this season so far the Rangers are outplayed in the 2nd frame. Something to keep an eye on.

- Ales Kotalik and Michael Del Zotto are becoming quite the tandem at the points on the PP. Kotalik now has a 5 game point scoring streak (3 goals, 4 assists) and Del Zotto is leading all rookies in scoring and 2nd in the NHL in points for a defenseman with 7 (2 goals, 5 assists).

- Expanding on the Rangers’ PP, 7 games into the young season and it’s become a legitimate threat to score; something that was desperately lacking last season. After going 0-9 in the 1st 2 games, New York has gone 9-25 and has scored 2 PPG’s in 3 straight games.

- I think Gaborik in Czech means clutch. Every one of his goals (6 now on the year) have been scored in the 3rd period. The Rangers had only 1 shot on goal in the 3rd period and it was Gaborik’s blistering wrist shot that gave them the 4-2 outright.

- Congratulations to Brian Boyle for getting his 1st goal of the season last night against his former teammates. While we’re congratulating, hats off to Vinny Prospal for notching his 200th NHL goal.

- Ryan Smyth showed us why he may have some of the best hands in the NHL, deflecting a great shot, top corner, over Lundqvist for LA’s 1st goal. However, something tells me Tortorella will have something to say, as the Rangers blew their defensive coverage down low, allowing Smyth to simply skate in front of Lundqvist unfettered.

Next Game: Sat. @ Toronto 7:00pm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"T-Bone" Hungry to Impress

Over at Newsday, Steve Zipay has a sort of get-to-know-him piece on Rangers C Brian Boyle, whom the Rangers traded a 3rd-round pick to the LA Kings to acquire him. Here’s an excerpt:

“I know the situation here,” said Boyle, 24, who was chosen 26th overall in the 2003 NHL draft but believes he didn’t get a fair shot in Southern California, where he totaled eight goals and two assists in 36 games for the Kings the last two seasons. “I know I can score, I’ve done it all my career at other levels,” said the former Boston College captain. “It was frustrating in Los Angeles, so I was happy with the trade.”

Since winning the fourth-line job in training camp, Boyle has played limited minutes in the first six games, but his ice time has been increasing. He played 11:26 against the Leafs on Monday, including a rare 1:05 on the power play. “It’s a bit of a boost to earn some trust,” said Boyle, who has yet to register a point.”


- After a somewhat shaky and rather lackluster preseason, Brian Boyle has played steady over the first 6 games and looks comfortable in his role as his ice-time increases. He was brought in to replace Blair Betts as the 4th line center and, while one can argue that Betts is one of the best defensive centers in the NHL, Boyle has gradually gotten better each game and on the penalty kill too. If he could net some goals as well that will only impress John Tortorella & the Rangers even more.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Avery & Co. put a hurting on Toronto, Rangers win 7-2

The New York Rangers scored a decisive win over the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 7-2. For full game recaps, stats, and highlights visit

Quick Hits:
- Well, so much for my theory that this game was a trap for the Rangers. Not only did they outplay the Leafs in ever facet of the game, they made it look like Toronto belongs in the AHL.
- Expanding on that point, I’m calling out Ron Wilson and his minions. On 2 separate occasions, Jamal Mayers and Jason Blake skated into Lundqvist’s crease, without stopping, and knocked him over. Only Blake was penalized. That’s the type of undisciplined play that could injure someone and needs to be monitored.
- Sean Avery followed up a good game on Sunday against Anaheim with an even better game tonight with a 2 goal effort.
- Colton Orr made his return to MSG tonight since he signed with Toronto in the offseason and squared off against Brashear, his replacement. I’ll give Brashear the slight edge in their 1st fight of the season.
- Is it possible the Rangers are becoming a legitimate threat to score on the PP?? 2 more goals tonight and PP goals in 4 straight games.
- Goals came from everywhere tonight. Dan Girardi had his 1st career 2-goal game. Wade Redden earned 2nd star status with his 3 point effort (1 goal, 2 assists).
- Even on his backside, Marian Gaborik finds a way to score. I’m intrigued to see what his encore to that is.
- I was impressed with the Kids (Del Zotto & Gilroy) in the defensive zone tonight. They made the little plays that go unnoticed.
- The Rangers are quickly becoming one of the best 3rd period teams in the NHL. They’ve outscored their opponents 12-3 in the final frame.
Next game is Wednesday night against the LA Kings @ MSG 7:00pm

Toronto a Potential Trap?

Steve Zipay from Newsday had a chance to speak to Henrik Lundqvist after the Rangers practice today and asked him about their opponent tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here’s an excerpt:
“They’re gonna come in desperate,” the Rangers No. 1 goaltender said a few minutes ago after a half-hour optional practice at Madison Square Garden. “They don’t have the same skill (as trhe Ducks), but they’ll be desperate, so sometimes that’s tougher to defend. We have to be ready.”
My Thoughts:
- I could not agree more with the King Henrik. The Rangers have to be weary of this Toronto team who, besides having a 3 game winning streak against the Rangers, are much more physical from last year’s team and eager to shake off their early season woes. Vesa Toskala, Toronto’s starting goalie, has a 5-0-2 record with a 1.37GAA in his last 7 against Broadway. Don’t be surprised at a loss tonight.

Rangers Dominate Ducks 3-0

The New York Rangers were able to shut out the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 3-0. For full game recaps and stats check out

Quick Hits:

- Very defensive game, especially in the 1st period for the Rangers. Anaheim could only muster 1 shot in the 1st frame. Hats off to Steven Valiquette for coming, playing a team he's never faced before, and shutting them down.

- It's nice to see the Sean Avery of old; finishing checks, distracting the opposition, goading them into penalties and his offensive talents. He showed a quick release on shots. Who knows, we could see "The Great One" more than "The Grate one."

- It's funny how things work sometimes. Last year, you couldn't bank on the Rangers getting 2 PPG's to help them win a hockey game and would effectively lose any game under those circumstances. This season, they seem to have a better time of it scoring on the PP than 5-on-5. 

- Del Zotto continues to impress as the PP QB. A 4 game point streak (2 goals, 3 assists) has him 2nd on the team in points only behind Marian Gaborik. 

- Michael Rosival had a bounce back effort. Essentially, he needs to if he wants to play. Which is a god send to hear that players will play based on performance, not on paychecks.

- Christopher Higgins is on the cusp. Another game where he had shots on net (4) and had quality scoring chances and was robbed. It's only a matter of time.

- There was a laughable sequence in the 1st period with Chris Drury where, on a 3-on-2, he passed it way behind Marc Staal, who was rushing to the net. Then in the same play, Drury got a pass right in the slot and fell down attempting to shoot. $5.5 million dollar follies are always exciting to watch.

- Congrats to Artem Anisimov on his first ever NHL goal. He looked good doing it, showing off once again a quick release in front of the net. Sounds like a theme this year....

Rangers are right back at it tonight 7:00pm against the Toronto Maple Leafs

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Valiquette, Avery Probables For Ducks

Over at Blue Notes, Steve Zipay informs us that it looks as if backup Steve Valiquette will get his first start of the season against the Anaheim Ducks and Sean Avery looks to be healthy enough to make it in to the lineup for the 1st time all season. Here are some excerpts:

"Sean Avery, who wore a yellow No. 27 jersey, looked solid on the ice, including scoring three straight on Lundqvist in one drill, said there was nothing he wouldn't be able to do on Sunday, "except play goal."  

"Playing on the fourth line with Brian Boyle and Donald Brashear would mean limited minutes for Avery in his first game since spraining the MCL in his right knee on Sept. 21, which makes sense. Coach John Tortorella, who changes things up during almost every game, also could employ Avery on other lines or the PK.  Whether or not Avery plays against Toronto the following night is the question."

My Thoughts:

- Valiquette starting is to be expected as the Rangers have back to back games against Anaheim and Toronto. Although, I thought Vally would get the start against Toronto since he's had success against them in his career. We'll see.

- As for Avery, where ever he plays he will be effective if he can throw his opponents off their game. 1st line or 4th line it doesnt matter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gaborik, Rangers KO Caps

The New York Rangers were able to edge the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Thursday night. For full game recaps check out

My Thoughts:
- Unfortunately, due to work, I missed all the 1st period and most of the 2nd so I will try to blog to the best of my abilities as to what I actually did see.

- What can be said about Marian Gaborik that hasn't been said already; simply a world-class talent. 2 crucial goals to lift the Rangers to a win they more than likely would not have gotten last season.

- Ryan Callahan is what every hockey player should strive to be in terms of character. After being questionable to play because of a injury in practice, Callahan gutted it out and scored a goal purely on hard-work and determination. What a player the Rangers have. 

- If not for some quick, acrobatic saves by Jose Theodore, the Rangers could have had another 3 goals easily....mainly Christopher Higgins, who had a offensive epiphany of sorts.

- The Capitals are extremely dangerous. They are always difficult to play against simply because they have an abundance of YOUNG offensive weapons.

- I'm still shaking my head at the Backstrom goal Lundqvist let in. It was a fluke and I'm sure Henrik will make sure it never happens again.

- 4 games in to the season, Michael Del Zotto looks more and more like a keeper.

- Memo to the Rangers: do NOT take stupid penalties or Tortorella will speak to you about. Ask Aaron Voros.
Next game is Sunday 5:00pm home against the Anaheim Ducks

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Callahan Questionable; Grachev Called Up

According to Steve Zipay at Blue Notes, Ryan Callahan injured himself at practice today and is questionable for the game tonight vs Capitals.

The Rangers have recalled F Evgeny Grachev as insurance in case Callahan cannot go tonight.

...Not the best news you can hear before a pivotal early season match-up against the red-hot Capitals. Hopefully it's nothing too serious, as Callahan is a very important Ranger to not have in the line-up

Rangers Practice Patience

Brett Cyrgalis of the NY Post writes today about the difficult decision head coach John Tortorella has when Sean Avery returns from injury and who will sit in his favor. Here's an excerpt:

"The guys are playing well," Avery said yesterday after a close-to-full practice. "It's not to say that I'm not effective at 85-90 percent, but I think it's unfair to the team, and I don't think it's fair to myself, to [come back] this early. "

One of the main reasons the Rangers are 2-1-0 without Avery -- and carrying confidence into this matchup with the team that knocked them out in the first round of playoffs last year -- is a direct result of the stellar play from the guys who are most expendable."

...I like Sean's diligence with his injury. Rather than come back too soon he's taking his time and making sure he's as close to 100% as possible. It's a shame someone has to come out of the lineup (considering they're playing well) but you're adding more quality and more grit with Avery. It'll be just fine. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Commun-ast Cable & Internet; Serving No One But Themselves

If you're looking at my blog and wondering "what the hell is going on here?', then good stick around because it's only going to get better. I have to write today about the glorious cable company known as Comcast, who unceremoniously "shut out" myself and other DirecTV subscribers from watching VS' telecast on the Rangers Devils game last night.

I was about ready for the game last night, pumped as I could ever be as the 2 cross-river rivals were about to engage in full scale hockey war. They did; unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch within the confines of my home. The reason? Comcast, who is the largest competitor to DirecTV, believes it is the next Monopoly and, according to DirecTV itself, is "demanding unfair and outrageous increases in fees to air Versus." This means the deep-pocketed Comcast would rather increase their wealth and value and rob from their customers. Let's not get started on their product itself; which I'm sure other cable companies giggle at knowing they're superior to them. And, let's not pass up Comcast's exemplary "customer service," which is depicted in the picture below.

According to DirecTV, they are still negotiating to resolve Comcast attempts at piracy and compromise at a fair price to have Versus aired at some point. I hope a intelligible resolution is made sooner rather than later; the Rangers have 7 more games on the OLN Versus network this season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Grachev Is "Businesslike"

Jeff Jacobs from the Hartford Courant chimes in on Rangers prospect Evgeny Grachev, who's down in Hartford with the Wolfpack working on his game and going about not making the Rangers out of preseason as a tool to motivate him to work hard. If you'd like to check out the full article click here

"Some of the bigger kids at this age are still gangly, but Evgeny is pretty strong right now," Gernander said. "He's a good skater. He has a good shot and decent hands. Sometimes you get a guy with a glaring weakness. There is none. He's just young. He needs experience. It's a big jump from junior to NHL, but he's knocking at the door."

And Grachev's take?

"My decision-making could be faster with the puck. Maybe get a little bit faster and stronger, too. The last two [Rangers exhibition] games I played like eight minutes per game. I was thinking they'd send me down. It wasn't good to hear, but I wasn't too upset. I'll keep working and I'll get called up one day."

My Thoughts:

...It's nice to see Grachev take his demotion in stride. Some prospects might have gotten down on themselves and lost their confidence but not this kid. It's the best for his development that he's down in Hartford, gaining valuable ice-time and experience rather than riding the pine up with the Rangers. He'll be one of the first, if not the first, call-up from Hartford.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rangers 5 Senators 2

The New York Rangers were victorious over the Ottawa Senators by a score of 5-2. For a full game re-cap, stats, photos etc click here

Quick Hits:
- This was a intensely played game. There were a fair amount of end to end play, odd man rushes and a physical edge to it. Very entertaining to watch.

- It was a bit weird/cool to see Blue Man Group perform for the MSG home opener. Getting the crowd to chant "Let's Go Rangers" marked the beginning of a spectacular night.

- Congratulations to Michael Del Zotto on his first NHL goal. Adding to it was the timing of his goal; coming right near the end of the 2nd period to carry momentum in to the 3rd period. Who would've thought between him and Gilroy that Del Zotto would score first?

- The line of Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik combined for 4 goals and 6 points. They looked like too much for the Senators to handle.

Dubinsky has a hat trick if his shot doesnt come straight down of the cross bar on his breakaway.

- Speaking of Gaborik; 2 games 2 goals. The Gabby watch marches on!

- The 4th line played well even though it was used sparingly. In particular Brian Boyle stood out with a couple of solid defensive plays. 

- New personnel, more puck movement, excellent chances and, sadly, same result for the Ranger PP: another 0-fer. 

- Of all the positives, I'm slightly concerned with the Higgins-Drury-Callahan line. I didn't think they had a particularly good game tonight and, aside from the Drury goal Friday night, haven't gotten off to a great start. That could all change Monday in New Jersey.

Next game is @ the Prudential Center Monday night 7pm against the NJ Devils

Friday, October 2, 2009

Penguins 3 Rangers 2

The Stanley Cup defending Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New York Rangers by a score of 3-2. For a full recap, stats, photos, etc click here

Quick Hits:
-  This was an emotional game for the Penguins to play. They didn't want to play badly in front of their home crowd on opening night raising a Stanley Cup banner and it showed.

- Rangers were blitzed for 2 goals in a 1:08 stretch in the 2nd which turned out to be enough for Pittsburgh to hold on.

- The Kids (Gilroy, Del Zotto) played very solid for their 1st NHL games. I'd give the edge to Gilroy; he seemed more comfortable jumping in on the rush and going deep in the offensive zone.

- Marian Gaborik; 1 Game 1 Goal. Let's hope can do that 81 more times.

- Both Goaltenders (Fleury, Lundqvist) made some spectacular saves and at crucial times. 

- I saw Donald Brashear make a couple of nice plays in the limited minutes he played. And had a fight with Eric Goddard. Solid debut.

- I can't believe I'm going to type these words...but...Wade "The Blade" Redden actually played a good game. Especially in the 1st, he had a physical edge early on. 

Next game is Saturday at 7pm for the Rangers home opener versus the Ottawa Senators.

Rangers 2009-2010 Preview

A fan made video:

...This absolutely gets my blood pumping. Let's drop the puck already!!! Tonight's season opener marks the beginning!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

10 Ten Rookies To Watch for

Darren Dreger of TSN has an article about the Top 10 Rookies to watch for this season

Number 8: 

"Matt Gilroy.  The Rangers signed the 25-year old defenceman this summer as a free agent and describe Gilroy as an outstanding skater who is expected to push the pace of the game, spend time on New York's power play and contribute offensively."

--> Frankly, I could have seen either Gilroy or Del Zotto at this position in the list being talked about. But, I'm confident Gilroy is going to have a nice break out season for the Rangers. Lastly, how do you think Lightning fans feel seeing Victor Hedman No. 1? He's going to be a stud and he's only 18 years old.