There’s been a lot of talk about how the Rangers are 1-3-0 to start the season. There’s a lot of panicking because the Rangers have generally looked flat and rusty, and that since this is a shorter season they can’t afford to be losing games like these this. Yes, every game means the same in the standings, but not all games are created equal. It’s like face offs, even if you win 60% of face offs, if you lose 5 in a row in the final minute in the offensive zone when the opposition is icing the puck, then that’s all that matters.
But with all the panic, let’s remember that the Rangers are not the only team in the East struggling out of the gate, and many of those struggling are teams that made the playoffs last year:
- Rangers: 1-3-0
- Boston: 2-0-1
- Florida: 1-3-0
- Pittsburgh: 2-1-0
- Philly: 1-3-0
- NJD: 2-0-0
- Washington: 0-3-0
- Ottawa: 3-0-0
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Do you own a pair of skates? Give Glen a call, you could be of help!
Yesterday we discussed how the Rangers may eventually look outside of the organisation for help on the blueline. Unless you think Stu Bickel, Matt Gilroy or Steve Eminger are the answer then it’s perhaps inevitable that the Rangers are on the lookout. Of course, this is assuming team brass do not want Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh on the ice every other shift. So, with other teams such as the Red Wings signing viable alternatives such as Kent Huskins already, who’s still out there that could help?
The Rangers decision to bring in another defenseman will depend on what the Rangers want from their last pair. The options from either a free agent or trade perspective are limited, but there are some intriguing options, both defensive and offensively.
From the unemployed pool, Campoli would likely be the most expensive, but at this stage of an abbreviated season, anyone looking for work isn’t likely to make dollars a major stumbling block. The former Islander has likely plenty of gas left in the tank, but has been injury plagued in recent times. What makes him appealing for the Rangers is that he only costs dollars. Given the issues with moving the puck out of the zone, Campoli could help given that he’s a solid puck mover. If it’s offense and mobility the Rangers are after, then Campoli is the best of the rest at this stage.
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Less than 24 hours after the Rangers completed buying out Wade Redden, the veteran defender landed in St. Louis on a one-year, $800,000 deal. The buyout officially ended Redden’s tenure with the Rangers organization, and it’s nice to see him get picked up somewhere so fast.
Wade never fit in New York. Never mind the contract, his skill set just didn’t match what the Rangers needed from their defensemen system-wise. Still, unlike other players who were sent down to the Whale, Redden took it like a pro and made the best of a tough situation.
As for St Louis, they’ve added an experienced, steady, 3rd pairing defensemen. He’ll no doubt help their young and upcoming blueline mature. Most importantly, he’ll be doing it at an appropriate price point. It’s a good addition for their team.
Good luck Wade. See you in June.
A depth forward could be on the radar for the Rangers.
Looking over the Rangers training camp roster, one thing that really stands out is the lack of depth, particularly on offense. Right now, the following has been reported as Torts’ early line combos.
Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider – Brian Boyle – Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp – Jeff Halpern – Arron Asham
One would think the Rangers would probably like to add another forward to the mix, specifically for that 4th line. Rupp and Asham will certainly find themselves useful matching up against other enforcement-type 4th lines. However, we may have some issues against speedier 4th lines. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Sather bringing in another body. This is something that Dave covered briefly this weekend.
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The MOU is signed, the schedule is released, and now it’s time to play some hockey. Training camps opened today, and the regular season will open on Saturday with all 30 NHL teams in action. The Rangers will open the season in Boston, and then come back to The Garden for their home opener against Pittsburgh the following day.
The first thing that will jump out at you when looking at the schedule is that the Rangers is their opening bunch of games. The Rangers open the season at Boston, then home against Pittsburgh and Boston, then at Philly, then home for Toronto, Philly, and Pittsburgh. That is one tough stretch of seven games, and that Toronto game reeks of a trap game. They also close the season with eight out of eleven games on the road.
The Rangers will play six back-to-backs and six three-in-fours. Aside from those stretches, the Rangers generally play every other day, with few two-day breaks between games. You can expect Martin Biron to get a bunch of playing time in those stretches.
It’s a tough schedule, but all 30 NHL teams are in the same boat. There will be a game on national television almost everyday this year.
Per multiple people on Twitter, the Memo of Understanding has been completed and signed by both the players and the owners. The owners ratified the CBA on Wednesday, and the players ratified the CBA this morning. The MOU was the piece of documentation required to allow the lockout to be lifted and to allow business as usual.
With the MOU signed, training camp can begin, schedules can be released, trades can happen, teams can sign players, and waivers are now active. Welcome back to hockey.
It’s been confirmed for some time that all 30 NHL teams would open the 2013 season on January 19, but it hasn’t been confirmed where the teams will be playing. Some of these matchups have already been leaked, including Montreal/Toronto and Philly/Pittsburgh.
Bob Fedas of Boston.com was the first to break the news that the Rangers will open the season in Boston against the Bruins. This news leaked about an hour ago, and now it has since been confirmed by multiple sources, including John Buccigross. This won’t become official until the PA ratifies the new CBA this weekend, but it looks like the first game is set.
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
The Ottawa Senators nabbed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference last season with 92 points in 82 games. That works out to an average of 1.12 points per contest, which equates to roughly 53 points in a lockout-shortened 48-game season.
In 2010-2011, 93 points was enough to grant the Blueshirts the final playoff spot, which is on pace with the Sens last season. In 2009-2010, 88 points sealed the deal, which is a little off the 1.12 mark set by the Rangers and Sens in previous years. Using this math, we can assume that the mid 50s is a reasonable target to earn a playoff spot again this year.
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As the release of the official schedule for this shortened season grows near, we are almost assured of a 48 game season composed entirely of intra-conference play. The East will play the East, and the West will play the West. Bob McKenzie noted how the schedule will likely break down:
Each team plays: 4 games vs. two Divisional opponents (8); 5 games vs. two divisional opponents (10); 3 games vs 10 Conference rivals (30).
At first glance, almost everyone spots the imbalance right away, especially in the Atlantic Division. There is a bit of luck involved in the schedule, as the teams that get an extra game against the Islanders will likely have a slightly easier schedule than those that don’t have the extra game against them. The Rangers, Flyers, and Penguins are all playoff teams. The Devils, despite losing Zach Parise, are always in the hunt, and are a dangerous team. Two of these teams will get the Islanders twice, two won’t. It’s only one game, but it could mean a four point swing the standings.
This past weekend it was confirmed the NHL submitted a new proposal to the union Thursday afternoon. According to reports, the latest offer is approximately 300 pages and is the most “comprehensive proposal” the league has submitted in months.
While the NHLPA takes the time to review the proposal over the weekend, I would recommend everyone remain cautiously optimistic. I’m sure the union will craft a counter offer, since the rumored drop-dead date to start a 48 game season is January 19th. Meaning an agreement would have to be in place sometime during the 2nd week of January. In other words, the NHLPA has time to squeeze the league for a little bit more.
Below are the key highlights of the proposal and what I think are non-issues and key sticking points.
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