Catching Up On Some News

Even though summer vacation has begun for the Rangers players, it hasn’t for the front office as the Rangers work to lock up their prospects.

 

First it was Jesper Fast (drafted as Jesper Fasth, I have no idea what happened to the “h”). He was signed to an entry level deal on Tuesday. What do we know about Fast?

 

  • He was a 6th round pick for the Rangers in 2010, 157th overall.
  • He played in the 2011 World Junior Championships scoring six points in six games (4 goals, 2 assists).
  • He has played the last two seasons for HV 71 of the Swedish Elite League posting 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) over the two years.
  • Last year he was hampered by a broken ankle which sidelined him for four months contributing to the low totals (only played 21 games).
  • He is expected to go back to the SEL next year and then come to the States during the 2013-2014 season.

 

On Wednesday, it was forward Marek Hrivik who wasn’t even part of the organization at the start of the calendar year.  He was signed to an ATO on March 30th after finishing his junior season in the QMJHL and never looked back.  What else do we know about Hrivik?

 

  • He was undrafted (way to go scouting crew!) but has had two NHL tryouts – the Blue Jackets in 2010 and the Coyotes in 2011. Obviously he didn’t sign with either team. Will be interesting to see if the Rangers managed to find another gem everyone else overlooked.
  • He played in the 2009 and 2011 World Junior Championships for Slovakia.
  • He has played 179 career games in the QMJHL recording 204 points (93 goals, 111 assists).
  • In nine playoff games with the Whale, he led the team with five goals and tied for team lead in points with nine points (Casey Wellman).
  • He is expected to start the season in Connecticut but could definitely push for a spot with the Rangers in training camp.

 

Should be interesting to see if these two make it to the NHL.  Of my limited time watching the Whale, I would not be surprised to see Hrivic there at some point next season.  Maybe a mid-season call-up like Hagelin?  Either way, future is definitely bright on Broadway!

Advertisements

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Gosh I miss them already.... (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)

As I’m sure everyone already knows, yesterday was break-up day for the Rangers meaning summer is officially here for the boys. Jesse Spector tweeted that he didn’t think it has sunk in for most of them. Pretty sure the fans feel the same way. I’m still looking for the five versions of game notes I get in my three different email addresses. (Seriously…I have no idea why they have so many versions or how they got all my email addresses…)

Anyway, there wasn’t much surprising news out of the day but here’s a quick rundown of what was confirmed.

  • Brandon Dubinsky’s injury was a high ankle sprain which still needs another 6-8 weeks to fully heal. They originally thought it was a low ankle sprain but when it didn’t heal, he went for more tests and confirmed it was high ankle instead. Feel bad for the kid but it just goes with the rest of his season. Hopefully next year will be better.
  • Ryan Callahan swore he was fine. No one believes him so all we know is he had an injury to his right hand. I give the man credit for not giving an excuse but when you can’t hold your stick, it’s pretty obvious something is wrong. He also finally confirmed his wife had a baby girl whom they named Charlotte and that mom and daughter are healthy. (Side note: I never thought we would get his daughters’ name. Guess the guys told him he was being ridiculous.) Congrats again Captain Cally!
  • Brandon Prust has a torn tendon in his left ring finger that will need surgery. He suffered the injury in a regular season fight vs. Konopka on January 12th. Why this wasn’t taken care of already is beyond me but he said it will be fixed soon.
  • Marian Gaborik said he has an injury that might require a procedure but would not provide any further details. Not surprised Gaby is hurt and guessing it’s an upper body injury. We should know more in a couple of days.
  • Brian Boyle says his head is fine and he wouldn’t have played if it wasn’t which makes me extremely happy after hearing stories like this. He did admit his conditioning was off when he returned as he felt like he was trying to jump on a speeding train and just couldn’t catch up. It sucks because I honestly believe the boys would still be playing if Boyle and Dubi hadn’t been injured.
  • Michael Sauer was at the practice facility but only to speak with the coaching staff. Tortorella said he isn’t ready to start working out and not sure if he will be ready for next season. Sounds like they are planning as if he won’t be which breaks my heart. Most hockey players are good guys. Michael Sauer is one of the nicest you will ever meet. What he is going through right now just isn’t fair. Get well soon Sweet!!!!!
  • When asked if he had any injuries, Michael Del Zotto replied “a broken heart”. Being that he lost his grandmother and his season ended in the same week, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t kidding. That said, it gave me a good laugh so thought I would include on the injury list.

As for other free agency:

  • Brandon Prust (UFA) said he would love to come back but hasn’t started negotiations yet. Said money is an issue but not the biggest as he wants a good situation. I want Prust back. Make it happen Rangers.
  • Ruslan Fedotenko (UFA) said he will take some time to evaluate his future but does want to win another Cup. Sounds like he still wants to play; I’m not sure it will be with the Rangers next season.
  • Michael Del Zotto (RFA) hasn’t started contract negotiations or thought about them yet. He’ll be back. I’m not worried.
  • Anton Stralman (RFA) said he would love to come back but will consider what’s best for him and his family. Sounds like his family wants to go home to Sweden.
  • Mats Zuccarello (RFA) said he wants to be a Ranger but wants playing time as well so will do what is best for him. He mentioned he had other opportunities but wouldn’t specify. Since there was rumor over the weekend he signed with a KHL team I would say he pretty much as one foot out the door. It’s a shame but Torts never really liked the kid. Good luck wherever you end up Zucc!

And with that, the Rangers packed their bags for the last time and headed to their summer vacations. Is it October yet?

The Day After

I miss you boys already.... (Photo: Jesse Spector/flickr)

It’s been more than 24 hours since the Rangers season suddenly ended and it still doesn’t feel real. It still hurts. And I’m just a fan so I can imagine how the players feel. Say whatever you want but this season just seemed magical. There were too many things that made it seem like this would be “the year”.

And for it to come crashing down the way it did…ugh, I don’t even want to think about it. If you really want to torture yourself with a recap, our new Devils writer was able to do more than I could over on Intermission Report. Or you can go to any of the regular sites and read about it. For me, I’ll pass – there’s something about seeing guys who are so tough on the ice with glassy eyes that just makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry hysterically.

So instead, I’m going to focus on the positives.

This team gave me such great memories this year. Sure there was Europe, 24/7 and the Winter Classic, but I’m talking about individual games. Such as a December game in Phoenix, games against Vancouver and Calgary in October and Boston in January. Pretty sure Rangers fans know exactly which games I’m referring to. And we can’t forget any game against the Flyers or Jets as the boys swept both of those series. Or the playoff miracles against the Caps – the triple OT thriller in Game 3 and the comeback of the year in Game 5.

Sure there were bad times – the first three games of the year when the boys when 0-1-2 and everyone thought we would have the number one draft pick in June. (Anyone remember that?) Or that horrible game on December 5th against Toronto where we watched one of our boys season end. But those days were few and far between this season. This season was all about good times. About believing that finally, the future is bright on Broadway.

Over the next few weeks/months, I’ll recap the season that was. But in the meantime, pick your heads up Rangers fans. This season was beyond awesome and next year will only be better. Many of the teams who went on runs this year are expected to be one and done. The Rangers aren’t one of them.

And to help you smile, I’m bringing out one of my favorite videos of the year. If you can’t laugh at this, then I don’t know what to tell you.

This Isn’t 1994….

I can’t right now. It just hurts too much. Even typing the words is just too difficult so this is going to be really short.

I’m proud of you Rangers. You got further than we ever could’ve imagined you would. And you fought so hard in this game. It just wasn’t meant to be.

But I will be there loud and proud in October….or whenever you are allowed back in the Garden since renovations have been delayed. Keep your heads up and be proud of what you did. Cause your fan base is proud of you.

Keep Saying the Same Word Rangers Fans: BELIEVE

Going to keep saying it.... (Photo: Tim Baker/flickr)

Before Game 6 of the Rangers first round series against Ottawa, I posted this. While some of it doesn’t apply this time, I still felt the need to repost it. Things I’ll add for the current series include:

  • Goaltending. Lundqvist did not look good in Game 5. There really is no way around it. But Brodeur looked worse. And while it would be silly to say Henrik will bounce back but Marty won’t, I think Henrik has been the better goalie so I expect a better game from him. Brodeur will be better but he is still beatable. The Rangers just have to take advantage of his mistakes.
  • Power Play. Shockingly, our power play has been decent in this series. It would be nice for it show up tonight.
  • Defense. What was our greatest asset, has turned into a huge issue the past few games. It’s not just one guy either – it’s McDonagh straight through Bickel. I understand the boys are tired but no excuses this time of year. They need to be better. I can’t believe they won’t be tonight.

I could go on and on about the game tonight but simple thing is this is a MUST win. I don’t care how they do it as long as I don’t see handshakes tonight. I believe in this team so pretty sure I’ll be writing about another game 7 tomorrow. DO NOT LET ME DOWN BOYS!!!!!

Sloppy Start, Sloppier Third Put Rangers On Brink

Why am I posting a pic of Derek Stepan? Cause Step makes me happy and I need something to smile about this morning. (Photo: Robert Kowal/flickr)

Ugh. That’s really all I feel like saying right now. Yes the Rangers probably played their best game of the series but once again a bad start killed them. And as I expected (and was afraid would happen) once the boys figured out some of the first and the second, the third would suffer. It did as that third was the sloppiest hockey I’ve seen from both teams.

Honestly it just hurts right now. And I know the series isn’t over but we could’ve won this game. I guess this is what we get for stealing other games – the Devils gave us a taste if our own medicine.

I really need to start copying and pasting my recap of the first period rather than trying to come up with new ways to say they sucked.  Although in my opinion this one might’ve been the worse but that may be because of the outcome. Let’s put it this way – Torts used his timeout less than five minutes into the game and I had no problem with it. But that’s what happens when you’re already losing 2-0.  I honestly don’t even have words for that start. And I just don’t understand it. How are the boys not ready to play each and every night? Fine you take a night off and have a bad start. But this is EVERY night. I don’t know who to blame but someone needs to fix this NOW.

By halfway through the first the Devils managed to make it 3-0 with only five shots on net. Yeah Henrik didn’t show up either cause a couple of those were softies. The Rangers did manage to make it 3-1 on a great play by Brandon Prust but that was all the boys could manage in the period. They did look better as the period went on but the hole had been dug.

I give the fans credit – they were trying to push the boys all period and as the buzzer sounded there was silence. If the fans had booed them off the ice I wouldn’t have blamed them.

Don’t know what Torts said during the intermission (another phrase I need to copy and paste) but it worked cause the boys came out flying and 32 seconds in it was 3-2 on a beautiful deflection from the Captain. I mean I think he’s been watching Kreider cause that deflect was perfect.

And the boys didn’t stop there. Well unfortunately the scoring did but the Rangers completely controlled the period and outshot the Devils 11-5 (with two of those shots for NJ coming in the last minute). It was a great period for the boys and would’ve felt even better if they hadn’t let up those softies in the first.

But no matter how soft the goals Henrik gave up were, nothing compares to the gift Marty gave us 17 seconds into the third. I saw Parise arguing about it although I have no idea why. Guess he wasn’t happy his goalie put the puck in his own net.

You would think that would get the boys going. It got the fans going as I’ve never heard a louder Marty chant. Apparently Marty loved it and wants to hear it again – who says this? But it didn’t help the guys on the ice. The next 15 minutes were extremely back and forth sloppy hockey from both teams. Honestly I wouldn’t be happy if I was either team. Yet somehow we were still tied.

Problem was you could see the ice tilting. Rangers started looking worse and worse in the defensive zone. I said this isn’t looking good and less than 30 seconds later we were losing again. Less than five minutes to go and all the work to fight back was for nothing. Sure there was still time but I figured we used up all our Game 5 luck in the last series. I was right.

So now what? Do we have another seven game series on our hands or will there be handshakes at the Rock on Friday? No matter what happens I’m proud of this team. At the start of the season no one thought we would’ve gotten this far and look where we are?

Anyone who is giving up forgets what this team has done all year. I still believe there will be a Game 7. Plus Marty wants to know if the fans can be louder than they were tonight. It would be wrong to not oblige a future hall of famer 😉

Media Jinx Strikes Again

Don't look at me like that. You know I love you but we're in a fight right now. (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)

The main thing I read about the Rangers before Game 4 was how well the defense was playing. Yes it was mostly about how they were scoring but all articles also mentioned how well they were playing overall. As a Rangers fan can I ask a favor of the media? Please never talk about my teams’ defense again.

Look the Rangers didn’t deserve to win this game (I’ve been saying that a lot recently) but when Steve Eminger and Stu Bickel end up a defense pair for more than one shift, you know something is wrong.

Once again the Rangers didn’t show up for the first period. Honestly, I’m officially concerned about this because that’s at least the fourth game in a row (I’ve blocked out the last series already) this has happened. I don’t know what it is but it needs to change ASAP.

And what were the biggest problems? Defense. Del Zotto looked beyond atrocious in the first period. Honestly, I get having a bad game but I knew something was up with how off he was. Sure enough I was right. I don’t have video proof but I heard HNiC announced during the first intermission that his grandmother passed away on Saturday. It was also mentioned in passing here. He’s pretty close with his family and being that he is still young (only 21 years old people), pretty sure we can say his head wasn’t in the game. It can’t be an excuse at this point in the season but I’m sorry, I’m human. He probably shouldn’t have been in the lineup tonight. Condolences Del Zotto to you and your family on your loss.

But as bad as he was, the dumbest play in my mind was by McDonagh. Our steady rock that doesn’t even know what it means to make a mistake completely lost his cool. I’m still not exactly sure what led to it but he got into a sparing match with Henrique and for some unknown reason he decided to drop the gloves. I don’t care which Devil player that was or how the fight went, it was an automatic loss for us. Why McDonagh would think it was a good idea to take himself off the ice for five minutes (especially knowing DZ’s head wasn’t there) is beyond me but he did. And of course the Devils scored cause his replacement couldn’t cover. Halfway through the first, 2-0 Devils and game was over in my mind.

We kind of played the second period. I mean it wasn’t great but DZ got benched and McDonagh stayed on the ice so it wasn’t horrible. I enjoyed seeing Eminger and Bickel try to defend. Anyone who says one is better than the other just needed to watch that. (I, like the rest of the fanbase, have my preference but honestly neither did themselves any favors last night.)

We entered the third losing by two but since the third has been our best period it technically wasn’t over. (I say technically cause I thought it was over in the first. Judge me. I was right.) Early in the period, Stepan takes a penalty for something and it takes them four seconds to put the puck in the net. Four seconds. Seriously boys? Ugh.

At that point the boys played like the game was over. It was sloppy, undisciplined hockey. One stupid penalty after another. I mean what was Rupp thinking punching Brodeur? (I’ll admit I laughed but that didn’t mean it was a good idea.)

Somehow with five minutes to go we managed to kill Marty’s shutout but that was all the offense we could muster. They got the empty netter to kill our three goals or less streak and game was over.

I’m sure the boys will bounce back and win on Wednesday but why couldn’t they make this easy? Not just easy on the fans but easy on themselves. They don’t need to play all 28 games in the playoffs. In fact no team ever has. There’s a reason for that. So here’s an idea boys – maybe end the series in six? You know win two games in a row? Last I checked that wasn’t illegal.