Del Zotto has been solid lately, much needed by the Rangers
It won’t be a popular topic with many Rangers fans, but Michael Del Zotto has quietly gone about playing some very good hockey since returning from his injury. This return to form is also coinciding with the Rangers recent strong run, which is no coincidence.
Del Zotto’s form has been overshadowed by Ryan McDonagh’s own return to form, Marc Staal’s injury, Rick Nash’s free scoring ways and the partial re-emergence of a powerplay that has begun to make a positive difference once again (finally?). Perhaps this is the best way for Del Zotto. He gets the opportunity to float under the radar, and have the attention focused elsewhere.
In not being blamed for every defensive error committed by the Rangers, and partially forgotten about on the offensive side of the puck, Del Zotto has had the opportunity to play himself back in to form in relative peace and quiet. While other players take the plaudits, Del Zotto has gotten better.
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It looks like we have some positive news on the Marc Staal front. Per Kevin Paul Dupont, the Rangers expect Staal to miss an additional two or three weeks, assuming no setbacks in the recovery process. That represents the best possible scenario, and is great news for Staal and the Rangers.
The Rangers need Gaborik and the offense to help accommodate for Staal’s injury
It may seem an odd statement to make in light of an important defenseman being lost to injury, but the Rangers offense will need to produce consistently now more than ever. Despite the addition of Roman Hamrlik and the presence of multiple defensemen on the roster, the Rangers cannot reasonably expect to fill the void Marc Staal will leave. This is despite the presence of Henrik Lundqvist and the still impressive, remaining top four blueliners.
Any time a team loses a player of Marc Staal’s ability it’s going to hurt. When Staal went down the Rangers lost their best offensive blueliner (going by points alone), and lost a player that had returned to his All Star defensive best. Take an All Star who plays over twenty three minutes a game out of any line-up (except maybe the Blackhawks…) and you cannot reasonably expect the same performance level.
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Michael Del Zotto is needed now, more than ever.
The Rangers shoot for a season best fourth victory in a row tonight against the Islanders. Naturally, the Islanders love playing spoiler to their big brother neighbours so it should be a dandy. On to the musings.
Where do you stand on the visor front? I’m all for mandatory visors and always have been. Hockey is a fast and dangerous sport why wouldn’t you want to be as safe as possible? It will be interesting to see if Marc Staal changes his stance when (not if) he returns.
Hate to say I told you so: I said on Twitter that the Rangers should go after Roman Hamrlik before he was claimed, and I thought that before Marc Staal’s injury. He’s not what he was at 38 years old, but a rusty Hamrlik is better at this stage of his career than Stu Bickel, or more consistent than Matt Gilroy. Regarding the concern over his skating: Bickel can’t skate either and Gilroy’s skating ability hasn’t exactly helped him establish himself. So Hamrlik still represents an upgrade on the third pair, even with his limited skating ability.
One final thing on Staal; Assuming he misses the rest of the season, by the time next October comes around Staal will have missed a lot of hockey in the past two years. Does that affect him long term? It could go one of two ways; either he’ll benefit from having plenty left in the tank or he’ll have missed so much competitive hockey he’ll not be the same player he was.
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The Rangers released a statement today about the status of Marc Staal:
“Following an injury suffered in last night’s game vs. Philadelphia, Marc Staal was examined today in New York by Dr. Mark Fromer, ophthalmologist, and Dr. Mendel Markowitz, maxillofacial surgeon. The injury has improved significantly and both doctors are optimistic that Marc will make a full recovery. Staal will be sidelined indefinitely.”
Fans can exhale a bit, as it appears Staal did not suffer significant injuries after taking the puck to his eye last night. The words “out indefinitely” always scare folks, but this injury is not career threatening.
The Rangers took two points from the rival Flyers tonight, 4-2 at The Garden. With the exception of an incredibly scary puck to the eye suffered by Marc Staal, and some offensive zone penalties, it was a pretty awesome game to watch. Rick Nash flat out dominated and Ryan Callahan continued his high-scoring ways. Oh, and Henrik Lundqvist is back. Let’s get to the goals…
Rangers 1, Flyers 0
The Rangers started this game with a lot of energy and offensive pressure. The Callahan, Gaborik, Miller line was pressing in the offensive zone when Cally drew a holding penalty on Kimmo Timmonen. On the ensuing power play, the Rangers carried the puck into the zone on the near side. Max Talbot misread the puck and committed to the high slot. Stepan then sets up and 2-on-1 with Callahan down low, and The Captain takes it out on the water bottle into the top corner. Read more »
Bad PP? Wonder who could fix it?
I’m assuming the Rangers don’t have an issue with their former legend Brian Leetch and I’m assuming Leetch doesn’t hate Glen Sather for moving him out of New York to the Leafs all those years ago. So, why not get him on board and help right the wrongs of the current roster?
This is just food for thought on a lazy Sunday afternoon but other clubs have brought in specialist coaches such as the Sharks with Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson to directly deal with previous issues. The Sharks had a woeful PK (amid other things) and the new coaches helped right away. They dealt with their issues proactively.
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There was a lot going on today in Rangerland, and there may be some significant roster changes for tonight’s game. Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers are dealing with the following injuries/lineup changes:
- Arron Asham is out with back spasms. Christian Thomas has been recalled to take his roster spot.
- To make room for Thomas, Rick Nash has been placed on IR, retroactive to last Saturday.
- Marc Staal has the flu, and is a game time decision.
- Michael Del Zotto is a game time decision with the lower body injury sustained on Thursday.
- Martin Biron is starting tonight.
I think that sums it up at the moment. There’s a lot going on tonight.
No, Girardi and Staal are not brothers. They are elite defensemen.
The Rangers may have leaked goals in bunches at times this year and may have been, at best ‘rusty and inconsistent’, to begin the year. That said, the Rangers blueline – at least the top end – has been at the very heart of why the Rangers are back on the winning trail. With Dan Girardi and Marc Staal leading the way (and Ryan McDonagh getting back to previous form) do the Rangers have a Norris trophy candidate?
In a shortened season points surely can’t be the sole measuring stick of a Norris candidate, and if the best defenseman award goes to, well, the best defenseman then the Rangers could be in the mix for the award. With Erik Karlsson unfortunately out for the season due to a nasty injury and Nicklas Lidstrom working on his golf handicap, two of the main front runners are no longer in the running. With Shea Weber playing beneath the level of hockey we have been accustomed to – missing Ryan Suter by any chance? – there’s certainly an opening for a new winner.
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I am Nash. HEAR ME ROAR
It’s Musings day. I’m in Germany as you read this on a game day, so enjoy. Unfortunately the Islanders game is the first game I’ll not have caught live this year to any extent but I’m sure you’ll all cope without me.
The Rangers win in Boston; if that finishes 3-0 then half of Ranger nation will be booking time off to attend the Cup parade. It didn’t, and it was almost a shambolic collapse, but lets stay away from the ledge. For most part the Rangers played a great game and at times controlled the Bruins in their own barn. That’s tough to do.
There are goal scorers and then there are truly elite offensive, superstars. Marian Gaborik is a great goal scorer for the most part. Rick Nash is a superstar. He can dangle and create offense out of nothing that maybe 5% of the league (if that) can do. Going on a small sample size, Nash is going to be in New York for a long time and successfully too.
Marc Staal (for the most part) is truly back. Carrying the puck, playing physically, decision making, offense, sound positioning… he’s doing everything he needs to do at an All Star level again.
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