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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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The Hartford Wolf Pack have recalled forward Michael St. Croix from the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. This is St. Croix’s third stint with the AHL, where he is scoreless in nine games (2 PIMs, -3 rating). In 37 games in Greenville, St. Croix has a line of 13-27-40, with 12 PIMs and a +1 rating. St. Croix might be replacing the injured Danny Kristo in the lineup.
The Pack also recalled goaltender Scott Stajcer, but that is more a formality. He suffered another hip injury, and will miss the rest of the season. This is the same hip injury that has plagued him for the entire career. Stajcer is an RFA at the end of this year, and likely won’t be re-signed.
The ice hockey tournament of the 2014 Winter Olympics comes to an end today, as Canada (Rick Nash) takes on Sweden (Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin) in the gold medal game at 7am. Yesterday, Team USA (Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan) failed to show up against Finland, getting shut out 5-0 in the bronze medal game. With the loss, Team USA will not medal, closing out a disappointing Olympics.
Use this as your open thread for the Sweden/Canada game. Discuss whatever you want, just keep it civil.
Even though they lost to Canada in unimpressive fashion yesterday, Team USA can still win a medal today by beating the Finns and capturing the bronze. The Finns boast ex-Rangers Olli Jokinen, Lauri Kospikoski, and Jarkko Immonen, in addition to the a few stars (Tuukka Rask, Teemu Selanne, Kimmo Timmonen). The Finns don’t have much offensive punch, but they are probably the best defensive team in the Olympics this year. That stifling defense helped them beat Russia in the quarterfinals, and put up a good fight against Sweden in the semis.
Use this as your open thread for the game. Talk about anything you want, but keep it civil.
Despite earlier reports that the injury to Mats Zuccarello was not serious, the winger and Rangers leading scorer will be out 3-4 weeks with that broken hand. Considering the Olympic break doesn’t end until Thursday for the Rangers, Zuccarello will miss 2-3 weeks of games. That amounts to anywhere from 5-7 games. This is obviously a blow for the Rangers, as Zuccarello has been a huge asset to the team, and has been the backbone of his line with Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot.
The Rangers might not need to make a call up, depending on how well Derek Dorsett progresses from his broken leg. If they do need to make a call up, J.T. Miller would likely be the fill-in.
In injury news, Derek Dorsett is skating in a non-contact jersey, and hopes to be ready when the season resumes next week. Dorsett has missed 17 games with a broken leg suffered against Pittsburgh on January 3.
Also, per Steve Zipay, the Rangers –who practiced yesterday– will have practice today, tomorrow, and Monday through Wednesday. The Olympians will rejoin the team on Wednesday for a full team practice.
The six remaining Rangers all advanced to the semi-finals of the ice hockey tournament of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mats Zuccarello (Norway) is the only Ranger that is no longer competing in Olympics, with Norway losing to Russia yesterday.
Sweden (Carl Hagelin, Henrik Lundqvist) shut out Slovenia 5-0 this morning. Hank stopped 19 shots while Hagelin contributed a pair of goals in the win.
Team USA (Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan) eliminated the Czech Republic this afternoon by a score of 5-2. McDonagh notched an assist in the contest, while Callahan was held off the scoreboard in a primarily defensive role. Stepan did not play.
Canada (Rick Nash) needed all 60 minutes to barely squeak by Latvia, winning by a score of 2-1. Nash collected an assist in the contest.
Sweden will face Finland on Friday at 7am. Canada and Team USA will drop the puck at noon.
Yesterday afternoon, the Czech Republic defeated one-time country-mates Slovakia by a score of 5-3 in the qualification round. That win set up today’s game in the quarterfinals against Team USA for a spot to face Canada (probably) in the semi-finals. The Czechs actually came into pool play as the third ranked team in the world. The US was ranked #7 by the IIHF. Entering the quarterfinals, Team USA is ranked third and the Czechs seventh. My how times have changed.
Use this to discuss the game. Team USA is the better team, but the Czechs are still a solid squad. If Latvia can beat the Swiss, then anything can happen.
Per Seth Rothman, citing a Norwegian report, Mats Zuccarello has a small fracture in his injured left hand. Zuccarello suffered the injury Sunday against Austria after taking a slash to the hand, and sat out the elimination game against Russia yesterday. The injury is not expected to be a long-term injury, and Zuccarello could be ready by the time the NHL season resumes on February 27. The injury does not require surgery.
Mats Zuccarello sat out this morning’s game against Russia, in which Norway lost 4-0 and thus was eliminated from Olympic competition. Zuccarello sat out with a hand injury that was reportedly from either a blocked shot or a slash.
In three games, Zuccarello averaged roughly 20 minutes per game. He finished without registering a point, 10 SOG, 2 PIMs, and a -2 rating.