As per Andrew Gross, Ales Kotalik will be scratched tonight for the third time this season. Kotalik has been even less than I thought he would be, which is tough because I didn’t expect much. Donald Brashear will be a scratch tonight also, and Chad Johnson will make his second start of his career.
Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros, who have been the most common Prucha victims, are getting some playing time at the expense of Brashear and Kotalik. What a fantastic way to spend $4.4 million.
As per Andrew Gross, Erik Christensen will be in tonight for the injured Vinny Prospal. Chris Higgins will be on the top line with Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik. Hopefully it will help him get some bounces to go his way.
Chris Drury may or may not play tonight, so Aaron Voros will partake in the warmups, and will play if Drury cannot go tonight.
The Great Goalie Shuffle of 2009 continues: Rangers sent down Matt Zaba and recalled Chad Johnson, according to Andrew Gross. Johnson started last night against Portland, and gave up 4 goals on 29 shots in a 5-2 loss. Gross is also reporting that Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros will be healthy scratches for tonight’s game against Buffalo. We shall see what happens.
Lost in the excitement of yesterday’s game was the fact that Chris Drury is on his way back. That’s great news. But who do the Rangers bench? You can’t bench P.A. Parenteau. He’s been terrific. It comes down to Aaron Voros or Donald Brashear.
Dave and I kinda hashed it out yesterday, with Dave preferring Voros stay, and me wanting Voros but expecting him to go. I expect him to go because Brashear makes $1.4 million. It’s hard to bench that kind of money. But, if money were not an issue, Brashear would be first to go. He doesn’t do much, and his fighting ability seems to have dwindled. Voros hustles, digs in the corner, and can throw a mean right hook.
I’m going to leave it up to you guys. When Drury comes back, who sits: Voros, or Brashear?
As per Blueshirt Banter, Darren Dreger has reported that the Rangers are one of three teams (Sharks and Oilers) in the final running for Heatley. This is the second rumor we have heard about the Rangers closing in on Heatley. Again, the players rumored to be involved:
The players involved are Heatley(contract plus $4 mil bonus) to the Rangers for possibly Dubinsky, Stepan(on top line at Univ. of Wisconsin as a freshman),Voros(they like the “Neil Type”),and Rozsival.
There has to be a draft pick or two going each way to make this work. The salaries going each way work (Voros – $1 million, Rozsi – $5 million, Dubi – roughly $2 million after he resigns). Personally, I would prefer Zherdev goes to Ottawa in lieu of Dubinsky, I have grown rather attached to Dubinsky, but to get that go-to sniper, I wouldn’t exactly say no to this deal. It’s a bitter-sweet deal, but a good one nonetheless.
In our quest to help you understand the cap, we have put numbers behind the Rangers faithful requests to buy out Wade Redden. From that post, you can see the cap rammifications of such a buyout. Is it worth it? Well, that’s for Glen Sather to decide.
Redden isn’t the only popular buyout candidate, as Aaron Voros, seemingly with no spot on a John Tortorella roster, has had his name thrown around the blog-o-sphere for a potential buyout. Voros signed a 3 year / $3 million contract before last season. Thus, he has 2 years / $2 million left on his contract with the Rangers, and a $1 million cap hit as of this moment.
Voros’ salary was front-loaded, and he is set to make $900,000 / year for the next two years. Let’s run through the buyout numbers:
- (1) Buyout Amount: (900,000 * 2 years) * 2/3 = $1.2 million
- (2) 2x Remaining Years: 2 years * 2 = 4 years
- (3) Spread buyout amount (1) equally through 2x reamaining years (2): $1.2 million / 4 = $300,000
So, Aaron Voros can have a $1 million cap hit for this year and next, or a $300,000 cap hit for the next four years. It saves the Rangers $700,000 in cap room for two years, but costs them $300,000 in cap room for the following two years. Personally, I wouldn’t do it. I would just let him play in Hartford (thus clearing the $1 million cap hit anyway), and call up Dane Byers.
Well, there’s not much else to say about the impending Game 7 tonight. The Rangers have blown a 3-1 series lead, and have looked downright awful in doing so. Betts was beheaded, and Brashear was suspended.
As per Zipay, Anisimov is in tonight, as expected, with Betts out and Brashear suspended. The need for the center now outweighing the need for two enforcers. Aaron Voros is also in tonight, meaning Colton Orr is the odd man out. I don’t know how I feel about Voros playing and Orr sitting. Usually I’d want Orr in, but with Brashear out, you can argue that Voros has more offensive upside than Orr, so Voros should be in. But you can also argue that Voros is incredibly slow, and at least Orr can skate better. I guess it’s a wash when you think about it.
Game time is 7pm on MSG and Versus.
By now, you have all heard that Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella will be suspended for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals due to his conduct behind the bench during Game 5. Prior to the game, Tortorella made the decision to bench Sean Avery in favor of Aaron Voros due to Avery’s lack of discipline at the end of Game 4. While I agreed with taking action with Avery, I disagreed benching him for an entire game and putting a player with an entirely different skill-set in his place. This marked the first time I really questioned Tortorella since he became coach (if that means anything). I do love the fact that Tortorella is a no BS guy: sort of reminds me of another coach that led this team to the Cup 15 years ago (geez has it been that long?)
But while his tactics are refreshing, I look at it this way: on a team that can’t skate, score, or forecheck, and who is trying to close out a playoff series no less, you bench a player that does all three of those things very good with a player who is marginal at all those things. The bottom line in any professional sport is winning, especially in the playoffs (duh). Your best team has to be on the ice every night. And to boot, they STILL took dumb penalties, and the guy you put in to replace the undisciplined Avery may get suspended and/or fined. And on top of THAT, you, as a head coach, lose your cool and get into it with some ridiculously drunk fan. And when all the smoke clears, it turns out that YOU instigated everything with said fan. What message are you sending to your players when stuff like that happens? You would never guess the Caps are on the brink of elimination, given these teams attitudes entering Game 6.
When its all said and done though, the Rangers are still up 3-2, coming back home. And luckily for them, their assistant coach has enough experience and respect to probably will this team to a clinching victory.
During last night’s debacle, and really ugly 3rd period, we saw Orr and Voros lay out some dirty hits, and Tortorella get into it with some Washington fans. There is a very good chance we will be seeing at least fines for all three, and possibly suspensions.
What to do if/when someone is suspended? Who do you call up from Hartford to fill in? Artem Anisimov? Greg Moore? maybe give P.A. Parenteau a shot? We shall see later. Right now, we all wait in limbo as Colin Campbell and the rest of the disciplinary committee meet to discuss the fates of Aaron Voros, John Tortorella, and Colton Orr.
On a different note, what is with the Washington fans? Talking about classless. In Game 1, they were throwing stuff at the Rangers, and in Game 5, they throw stuff at Tortorella? I mean, grow up. Seriously. There is no need for any of that. It’s hockey, not the WWE.
I won’t be around for the rest of the day. It’s too nice out to stay in and wait for the result. So I won’t be posting an update on the suspensions until tomorrow. Go outside. It’s beautiful.
The current playoff picture is as follows:
Suffice it to say, tonight’s game against Carolina is huge. None of the other teams in this logjam are in action tonight, so the Rangers can gain two points in the standings and move into sole possession of 5th place, while knocking some wind out of Carolina’s sails tonight, and drawing even with Pitt in wins. Should they lose, the Rangers will drop to the 9 seed, and out of the playoff picture (Pitt has the tie breaker in total wins), with one game in hand on Carolina.
Every point matters, so the Rangers should be aggressive in winning this before overtime. It will be a tough task, as Carolina has been red hot lately, going 7-2 in their last 9, including dominating wins over Calgary and Washington, before raping TB on Saturday. Cam Ward has started the last 14 games for Carolina, and will probably make it 15 straight tonight.
As for the Rangers, Steve Valliquette will be in net tonight. Hank started the previous 13 straight, and will be getting a breather in the 2nd of back-to-back games. Aaron Voros will also be scratched tonight for the 4th straight game (as per Zipay). Voros probably won’t get much playing time under Torts, he’s too slow to play at the level Torts’ system calls for.
The game is on Vs. tonight at 7pm.
I’ll be watching the game on mute, while listening to Kenny Alberts’ call of the game. I just can’t stand Emerick. I still want to know what a waffle board is. I’ll be at Local watching the game with a friend. No live blog from me tonight.