Will Sather make deadline deals?
As the Rangers bask in the glow of an impressive win over the Flyers on Tuesday and prepare for tonight’s game against the Senators, it all comes back to Ryan Callahan’s comment a few weeks back; ‘We have to back it up’. The Rangers need two points tonight just as much as they did on Tuesday. On to the musings
Derek Stepan. It is only fitting that this week’s musings begins with Stepan. He was immense on Tuesday, beyond ‘just’ the points. His back checking to break up plays, his stick work and positional sense were all great examples of his sky high hockey IQ and growing confidence. When a player is on top form he always seems to find a way to be on or around the puck. Stepan’s shown great development this year. Especially after his so-so start to the season
As a loyal commenter pointed out yesterday, Rick Nash would be on course for 82 points in a full season. However, where I disagree is that’s his ceiling. If Stepan’s development curve continues and Nash has a training camp under his legs I think he has 100 point potential as a Ranger. His skill set is definitely 100 point calibre.
Statistical quirk: The Rangers sit 4th in the league in goals against per game (all the more impressive given the injuries on D and the overall team record) yet despite that lofty ranking they don’t have a shutout this season, yet.
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If it wasn’t for two fortunate goals by the Flyers this game, on paper, would look like it did on the ice; a comprehensive victory for the Rangers. Led by the dominant top line the Rangers scored a few impressive goals and got solid performances all over the line up. Brad Richards had his best game in weeks, Lundqvist was solid, Kreider was energetic and dangerous all while Rick Nash and Derek Stepan manhandled the Flyers defense. Stepan in particular seems to grow with every additional game. On to the goal breakdown
Rangers 1-0; Rick Nash (14:54)
The Rangers opened the scoring with a Derek Stepan clinic. First of all, the Rangers center created a turnover behind the Flyers net with some great stick work (doing the basics right, stick on the ice) and eventually sent the puck up to the point where Girardi sent a shot glancing off the post. The puck came back to the Rangers and eventually to Stepan who, positioned to the right of Bryzgalov, sent a crisp pass over to Rick Nash who was moving toward goal and Nash put it top right on the Flyers goalie for the lead. A solid goal, forced by the Rangers desire to retrieve pucks.
Rangers 2-0; Brad Richards PP goal (3:14)
The Rangers got a big second goal early in the middle period as they connected on the powerplay. After initially struggling to get into and set up in the Flyers zone the Rangers finally did and moved the puck around at the blue line when it finally comes to Richards to the left of Bryzgalov, up high. Using defenseman Andrej Meszaros as a screen Richards absolutely rifled one up high past the Flyers goalie. A great shot from Richards to double the lead.
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Can Kreider’s recent good form translate to the NHL this year?
It’s rather a sombre beginning to a Musings post today as the unfortunate news of Glen Sather receiving treatment for prostate cancer reached us all. Whether you’re a Sather fan or not, I’m sure everyone joins me in repeating the wishes from this morning’s post here at the site in wishing a full and quick recovery.
One more thing regarding Sather; following an abysmal start as Rangers general manager he’s done a terrific job over the past several seasons. Wherever you look the Rangers have a bright future. Prospects dominating in Europe, a young farm team full of prospects and a young, growing contender in New York. Eventually, Sather has restocked the franchise and fleeced several of his colleagues along the way. It’s that last aspect why I’m not nervous heading toward the trade deadline.
Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh have truly developed into integral parts of this roster. That isn’t going to be a cheap summer for Sather and co. Further down the line I can see problems for the Rangers; with the cap coming down after this year and Del Zotto, Girardi and Stralman with expiring contracts after the 13/14 season the management may have to part with one or several players for financial reasons.
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The Rangers have recalled rookie Chris Kreider from the AHL after a one month stay with the Whale. Kreider, who was sent to Connecticut on February 28, scored six goals and added an assist in eight games since the demotion. Kreider seemed more confident with the puck and was making better decisions without the puck, which was a big part of the reason for his demotion.
To make room for Kreider on the NHL roster, Micheal Haley was returned to the AHL. Haley, who was called up to the Rangers on March 5, played nine games with the Rangers, finished his run with zero points and 12 PIMs and a -1 rating.
Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images
Though he was last year’s playoff hero, Chris Kreider got off to a tough start with the CT Whale during the NHL lockout, and his confidence was at an all-time low when he joined the Rangers for the start of the NHL season. Kreider had been asked to round out his game in the AHL and the learning process was more difficult than he may have expected. As a result, his offensive numbers took a nosedive.
Still, the Rangers saw just how valuable Kreider could be last spring and handed him a job to start the season despite his struggles. One highlight reel goal against Martin Brodeur notwithstanding, Kreider failed to generate much of anything offensively in third line duty, so the Blueshirts made the difficult decision to return Kreider to the Whale two weeks ago while keeping 20-year-old JT Miller with the big club. Read more »
AP Photo/Nick Wass
Rangerland was torn yesterday when Chris Kreider was returned to the AHL. On one side, many blamed Torts for not playing the kid enough to allow him to grow. On the other (note: more rational) side, many looked at is as a way for Kreider to get some solid playing time to work on the aspects of his game that need maturation. It’s clear how we feel on the matter.
This isn’t the first time the Rangers have sent a player back to the AHL to work on some things. Most recently, the Rangers did this with Michael Del Zotto, and it paid off wonderfully. For those that forgot, MDZ was in the middle of an awful sophomore season when the organization returned him to Connecticut to work on his game and rebuild his confidence. Now, he’s a top-four defenseman.
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The Rangers have sent Chris Kreider back to the AHL’s Connecticut Whale, a move that was widely expected once the Rangers got healthy. Kreider was sent down last week, but was immediately recalled due to the Rick Nash “concussion” and played while he was out. With Nash back, Kreider can return to the Whale to work on his play without the puck.
It is important for Kreider to get top line minutes with Connecticut, as that is something he wouldn’t be getting from the Rangers at the moment.
Former All Star Alfredsson would be a nice fit in NY – depending on cost
The Rangers need to get more offense and Chris Kreider needs serious minutes; not just as an injury fill-in. Those two issues, the inconsistent play of J.T. Miller, and the underwhelming performances of Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik are why the Rangers may want to consider speaking to Ottawa about veteran winger Daniel Alfredsson. After all, we all know the Rangers like a Swedish element to their team.
Alfredsson isn’t the same player he was but is still an effective complimentary player, has an expiring contract, and with Ottawa beset with injury – should the Rangers be able to mount some consistency toward a Cup run – there seem many reasons why Alfredsson makes sense for the Rangers. This of course is assuming the Sens will be sellers at the deadline, which may not be the case.
He doesn’t need to worry about tarnishing his career with Ottawa. This could be a pure rental and he could go back to Ottawa and finish his career there next year. Alfredsson, as the Senators greatest player, will get to decide his fate. He may want a cup run and with New York he could have one. With Karlsson and Spezza off-ice long term the Senators captain knows there’s little to no chance a cup run is happening in the Canadian capital.
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Chris Kreider’s stay in Connecticut was relatively short, at least for the time being, as he was recalled by the Rangers. From several accounts, Rick Nash appears to be sick –as he had to bail on the season subscriber forum last night– so Kreider will be replacing him in the lineup if need be.
Kreider played in last night’s 4-1 win for the Whale, finishing with a shot on goal, a -1 rating, and 2 PIMs.
Per Katie Strang, Chris Kreider has been sent down to the Connecticut Whale. She claims that the organization doesn’t want him sitting in the press box. Looks like J.T. Miller will stay with the big club and see a year burned off his ELC.