Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers have some new lines to compensate for the injury to captain Ryan Callahan:
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Taylor Pyatt-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Derek Dorsett
Benoit Pouliot-Dominic Moore-Arron Asham
Gross noted that Derick Brassard is taking a maintenance day after taking a shot off the leg last night, and that he will take Pyatt’s spot in the lineup for tomorrow’s game.
Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images
My DVR failed again last night, as Optimum told me the game was on NBCSN. It was not, and I recorded soccer instead. Luckily (or unluckily), I was at the game last night. While I won’t be able to give a goal breakdown, I can still manage some thoughts on the game:
- Losing Ryan Callahan is a big blow, but maybe the time off for his sprained knee will help heal his shoulder as well. I’m convinced he was not 100% when returning, and it showed on the ice.
- This was another game where the Rangers failed to show any real urgency or desire to win. Too many lazy backchecks, missed coverages, failed zone entries, avoiding taking the body, etc. The list goes on and on, but you all see it on the ice.
- There were very few people at the game last night. I’d say MSG was 75% full. Some of it may have to do with the Rangers record, some with the weather, some with the fact it was the Predators. But there was no one there, and The Garden was quiet for the entire game, except when they got scored on.
- This team sure is boring to watch, maybe that’s why no one showed up.
- In 2011-2012, teams hated coming to MSG or having the Rangers come to town. That was a team that hit, fought along the boards, and made you pay for every inch of space out there. This team, not so much. Too vanilla. Even the additions of Arron Asham and Derek Dorsett can’t change the attitude of this team.
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Ryan Callahan’s injury woes are concerning, but New York will still likely do everything it can to keep its captain
Quick note: Dave was at the game last night, so the goal breakdown will be done for the afternoon post.
The Rangers’ season is quickly spiraling out of control and it’s probably a matter of time before GM Glen Sather steps in and makes a major shakeup. But with so many pending free agents and so many players underperforming, it’s a certainty that the 2014-2015 version of the Blueshirts will look drastically different than the edition that stunk up the joint last night against Nashville. So let’s take a look at New York’s upcoming free agents and see who might still be around next year, and who could be gone.
Ryan Callahan - Yet another injury has clouded this situation. A few months ago it would have been unthinkable to imagine life without Callahan, but his health is becoming increasingly concerning. New York’s doctors will have to evaluate Callahan’s physical condition, but assuming he’s in one piece, I still expect the Rangers to do everything they can to lock up their captain long-term. Some of the beat writers think Callahan would be very tempted to join the Sabres next summer to move closer to home, but though I’m sure Callahan loves Rochester, New York City isn’t all that far away and I can’t imagine Callahan joining a rebuilding team. If things really fall apart for the Blueshirts and there’s not much progress in negotiations, I could see Callahan being tempted by a contender. But it’s still most likely the Rangers will retain their captain, albeit at a very steep price. Remember, the Rangers paid RFAs Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Michael Sauer over Callahan in 2011 and gave him a lesser deal due to the resulting cap crunch. No. 24 swallowed that bitter pill then, but it’s unlikely New York will be getting a hometown discount this time around.
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As if the season couldn’t get worse, AV said in his post-game press conference that Ryan Callahan has a 2nd degree MCL injury. Cally will likely be out 4-6 weeks. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more news.
Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images
Following a frustrating loss against Washington, the Rangers shook things up in their lineup. In need of grit, the team recalled Arron Asham. Alain Vigneault also (finally) benched both Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Pyatt in favor of Asham, Derek Dorsett (returning from injury), and Dominic Moore (returning after being scratched). A spark is needed, but inserting three bottom-line players isn’t going to be the difference maker. The stars need to start producing.
Nashville, under Barry Trotz, plays a 1-1-3 lock and a 1-2-2, forechecks that can be used aggressively or conservatively depending on score, puck location, etc. In the defensive zone, the Preds are mostly conservative, playing a low zone collapse/box+1. They also run an umbrella/ 1-3-1 power play, and they run it very well (21.6% success). On the PK they run a diamond/box hybrid penalty kill depending on puck location and opposition setup.
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Zuccarello: one of the more consistent Rangers this season
Amid the very up and down season the Rangers are currently ‘enjoying’, one player who has finally started to show some legitimate consistency is Mats Zuccarello, and it could cost the Rangers. The Rangers did the right thing last summer when they did not over commit to Zuccarello when they brought him back on a short term deal. The player hadn’t shown enough consistency or finishing ability to be considered a viable top six NHL forward and given his size and skill set, any other role wasn’t a realistic option.
Since his early season benching for the Flyers game, Zuccarello has arguably been the Rangers most creative player and is producing at a solid level. For a player that until recently has struggled to exert himself on a game by game basis, Zuccarello has been a creative force.
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Update: Per Pat Leonard, Taylor Pyatt and Benoit Pouliot will be scratched tonight. Dorsett and Arron Asham will dress in their place.
Per Steve Zipay, Derek Dorsett (wrist) was back on the ice for this morning’s skate. Dorsett has been nursing this wrist issue for a while, and the Rangers could really use his spunk back in the lineup.
Marc Staal was not on the ice, as expected. He is suffering from “issues” that may or may not be concussion related.
The team is calling it a neck issue for now. (Update: It’s a concussion)
Suit’s post yesterday was spot on about the need for grit, not goons, on this Rangers team. Though the Rangers need grit, the goons have been out in full force this past weekend in the NHL. For as long as I can remember being a fan, the debate of banning fighting has been around, but that’s not what we’ve seen this past weekend; we’ve seen extremely dangerous and unsportsmanlike hits. Let’s take a look at three of them, and what potential suspensions may arise.
James Neal knees Brad Marchand – Saturday, 12/7, Pens vs Bruins
This case is pretty ugly. Marchand is tripped and laying on the ice with his head up when Neal skates towards the puck and, en route, ensures that his knee makes direct contact with Marchand’s head. I’m not sure what’s most offensive about this play – that he kneed Marchand while he was down in the head, or that he skated off like it was no big deal. The fact that Marchand is a pesky player who routinely gets under the opposing teams skin is never an excuse to make such an abusive play. Neal had his hearing yesterday and was given a 5 game suspension, in part due to the lack of injury from the play, and also in part due to his history (Neal has been fined once and suspended once in the past 3 seasons). This was only a small part of a rough game, which saw 40 minutes of penalty time, including a game misconduct on the next play in this series…
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In a relatively unsurprising move, considering the discussions today about a need for some grit, the Rangers recalled winger Arron Asham from the Hartford Wolf Pack today, and returned rookie J.T. Miller back to Hartford. Asham is someone who can be a viable replacement while Derek Dorsett nurses his wrist injury, bringing some necessary grit and anti-vanilla to the lineup that this team desperately needs. He will make this team tougher to play against.
As for Miller, his time will come. He still needs work, as his game away from the puck leaves much to be desired.
It’s no secret, hockey is a war of attrition. Come playoff time, games are usually settled in dirty areas of the ice by close scores. The Rangers style of play has certainly changed since they last made a run in 2012 where they pretty much embodied my last sentence. This season we’ve begun to learn what we don’t have and that’s grit.
To date we have seen mostly inconsistent play where either we’re putting away 4-5 goals or we’re giving up 4-5 goals. This isn’t a good sign for long-term success. And while I certainly appreciate some of the skilled plays we are seeing, we all know how hard it is to maintain that style consistently over the course of a long season, or a 7 game series. The Rangers need to address this before the deadline because hockey isn’t just a war of attrition, but also a game of matchups.
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