I hope you’re all ready for a long three days of endless Ryan Callahan rumors. As the trade deadline approaches on Wednesday, we are going to hear endless “Callahan to [insert team here]” rumors, even more “Callahan’s updated demands” rumors, and some ‘Glen Sather ups his offer” rumors. This time around, we have a few new rumors, courtesy of Pierre LeBrun.
LeBrun stated that both sides have moved off their initial demands. The Rangers are holding firm at six years and $36 million, while the Callahan camp has come down to six years and “south of $6.5 million.” I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that the Girardi term (six years) means the Rangers are going to go to six years for Cally. There’s a deal to be made here, whether or not you agree with the term or dollars.
Time to get back on track.
The Boston Bruins come to town tonight as the most balanced team in the Eastern Conference, and the favorites (yes, over the Pens) to play for the Stanley Cup in June. The Rangers are one of the hottest teams in the league, but are coming off a pretty sloppy loss against Philly yesterday afternoon. The way the Blueshirts have been playing lately, we can expect them to come out strong against the Bruins, a team they generally play well against.
The Bruins have had the same style of play for years under Claude Julien. They play an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck early in the period and then switch to a more conservative 1-4 or 1-1-3 lock later in the period if they have a lead. In the defensive zone, the Bs play a low zone collapse and try to defend you in layers depending on puck location. On special teams, the Bruins use an umbrella power play and a wedge+1/diamond force penalty kill where they try to pressure for turnovers.
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The Rangers came into Philly hoping to get a five point cushion on second place in the Metro Division, but showed up playing sloppy hockey from start to finish. Philly is a very beatable team, and the Rangers could have really put the pressure on early with two powerplay opportunities. Once they missed on those, two defensive miscues put them down a pair, and the Rangers were playing catchup for the rest of the game.
The Flyers deserve a lot of credit in this game. They won the neutral zone battle, they forced the Rangers into a lot of turnovers, and Steve Mason was very, very strong. They took advantage of Rangers team that was not entirely there.
On to the goals:
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The Rangers are in Philly this afternoon to take on the Flyers in one of their bigger divisional match ups of the season. The Rangers have an opportunity to take a four-point-swing-game, extending their lead on the third place Flyers to five points. Currently, the Rangers have a three point lead and the tiebreaker (ROW). A win today gives the Rangers a very comfortable lead for second place.
The Flyers play a 2-1-2 forecheck, and once they get a late lead, they switch to a more conservative 1-1-3 left wing lock. In their own zone, the Flyers play a mix of zone and man-on-man defense, depending on puck location.On special teams, the Flyers run a 1-3-1 and an umbrella power play and a diamond force penalty kill with the strong side forward looking to pressure the point.
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Update: Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers and Girardi have agreed on a six-year deal worth $5.5 million, keeping Girardi on Broadway until he turns 36 years old. Per Pierre LeBrun, Girardi’s deal has a full no-movement clause for the first three years, and a modified no-trade clause the last three years.
Original Post: Per John Shannon of Sportsnet, the Rangers and defenseman Dan Girardi are closing in on an extension to keep the soon to be 30-year-old defenseman in New York for the foreseeable future. Girardi is rumored to want a six-year deal worth $5.5 million per year, which puts him right at where I estimated for the 2014-2015 payroll. The Rangers were countering with one of two deals: A six-year deal at $5 million per year or a five-year deal at $5.5 million per year.
Girardi’s current deal, which came with a $3.325 million cap hit, expires at the end of the season.
The Hartford Wolf Pack have recalled forward Kyle Jean from the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. Jean, who was demoted to Greenville on January 14, has a line of 4-7-11 in 18 games with the Road Warriors. In 27 games with the Wolf Pack, Jean has a line of 2-2-4, and has continued his steep drop off from his hot start last season.
Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Rangers open their post-Olympics schedule against one of the favorites in the Western Conference. The rest of the week doesn’t get much better, as New York has Philly, Boston, and Toronto following the Hawks, all playoff teams. The Rangers will face this schedule without their leading scorer in Mats Zuccarello, and with trade rumors surrounding their captain and top-pairing defenseman. The Hawks are the toughest test, and they are the first to get the shorthanded Rangers.
Joel Quenneville is one of the best coaches in the game. His Hawks play an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, keeping the back forward and defensemen ready to jump on turnovers. In the defensive zone, the Hawks play a standard zone defense looking to defend you in layers based on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play, and a wedge+1 penalty kill.
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For those that missed it last night, Vancouver center Ryan Kesler has reportedly requested a trade from the Canucks. Within minutes, there was buzz for a Kesler/Ryan Callahan swap. It’s natural, I guess, to assume that a deal could work out between the two sides, but there are way too many road blocks that would prevent a deal from happening.
First and foremost: Ryan Kesler has a no-trade clause, and had a big falling out with Alain Vigneault before AV departed Vancouver. Since AV is the head coach here in New York, it’s unlikely Kesler would waive his NTC to come play under the same coach.
Along the same lines, Cally and John Tortorella –now the head coach in Vancouver– don’t have the same relationship they once did (rumored). It is believed that Cally did not stick up for Torts prior to his surprise firing in May. The Cally/Torts situation is more speculation than anything though.
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The Rangers have recalled forward J.T. Miller from the AHL. This is Miller’s fourth stint with the team this season, and he has put together a line of 2-2-4 in 25 games at the NHL level. In the AHL, Miller is one of Hartford’s best players, putting together a line of 10-16-26 in 26 games, including 3-14-17 in his most recent stint.
The call up likely means that Derek Dorsett is not ready to return to the lineup from his broken leg.
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Over the past few weeks, we spoke how the Rangers might target Mike Cammalleri or Matt Moulson at the trade deadline to fill a need for top-six scoring consistency. It is the only real need for this team since the trade for Kevin Klein, as that trade addressed two needs: toughness on defense, and a right handed shot for the third pairing. With the blue line stabilized, the focus turns to offense.
Ott is a top-six forward for Buffalo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is actually a top-six forward for the Rangers. What he does add is some of that grit and toughness to a lineup that is lacking in that department, even with healthy versions of Derek Dorsett and Dan Carcillo. But the problem with Ott is that he does not address the need for additional scoring help. He has one 20-goal season, 1 15-goal season, and 3 10-goal seasons in his entire career.
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