Change Is Coming As Rangers Breakup For Summer

Yesterday, the 2015-16 Rangers met up for the final time as they packed up their things and headed to their longest summer break in five years. While recently break up day quotes have been nothing more than players saying they will be better next year, this years’ final day had a different vibe. This year, things were a lot more questionable than definite.

Let’s start with the biggest news. Unless you had absolutely no internet access yesterday, you heard about the blow up from Dan Boyle directed at New York Post writers Larry Brooks and Brett Cyrgalis. While Cyrgalis wasn’t in attendance, Brooks was and things got a little heated. Of course there was video which you can see here. For those who don’t want to watch, the transcript can be found here.

I’m not going to rehash the entire thing as everyone has seen and heard it. Was Boyle out of line? Maybe that situation wasn’t the best place to completely lose his cool. But I’ve always been taught to treat others with the same respect you would want to be treated with. There is no question Boyle has received very little respect from many in the NY media so if he felt like returning the favor on his last day speaking to them, fine by me. Especially when one of the writers in question felt the need to respond and then apologize after he was called out by fans everywhere for his original response.

Somewhere, John Tortorella read about what happened and smiled.


Moving on, the next player to speak was Dan Girardi who confirmed what anyone who had any common sense had already figured out – he missed three games during the playoffs due to injury. What was that injury? A concussion stemming from the hit he received from Brian Boyle.

To me, it was clear as day that was the injury and I was actually shocked to see him back for game 1. After seeing how that game went, it was no surprise when Girardi admitted he didn’t feel right as the game went on and that the symptoms returned after the game. I’m still not sure how he was able to come back for game 5 but he did say he felt fine during and after the game so hopefully the concussion issues are behind him. But you never know with head injuries. (I’ll save that rant for another time.)

Girardi also confirmed what many had suspected – that the crack in his knee never fully healed.

“If I could go back, I’d probably try and take more time off, but a lot of you guys know I’m not that guy who’s just not going to play. Missing whatever I did — six games — was already a lot for me.”

I plan to hold him to that quote next year when he inevitably tries to play through another injury received early in the season. Speaking of next year, Girardi told reporters he was confident this year was a one-time thing and that he can and will be much better next season. When asked if he thought that would be with the Rangers, his response was “Well, I think so.”

And that seemed to be the trend in the quotes I saw coming out of the room. Everyone saying “I think so”. Reading between the lines, you could tell the players aren’t sure what to think but are aware changes are coming.

For instance, when Henrik Lundqvist was asked if the team could contend again next year, he replied “I think so”. Lundqvist has been the most vocal saying while he knows change is coming, the organization shouldn’t “overreact”.


If there is anyone who will take the way the season ended the hardest, it is Lundqvist. And if there is as much change as everyone is assuming, he might be the only one untouchable (assuming he doesn’t ask for a trade himself).

Returning to injuries for a moment, Lundqvist said that there was no lingering issues from his eye injury, although he almost wished there was so he could blame his performance on that. All due respect, I would prefer to accept he played bad then be worried about his eyesight. Rangers fans already have to deal with that with another player.

Captain Ryan McDonagh finally admitted what his “mysterious upper body injury” was – he broke his right pointer finger. I actually thought it was a lot worse than that but I guess that explains why he was able to come back as quickly as he did. He won’t need surgery but the finger does need a few more weeks to completely heal.

Actually, for the first time in years, no one needs surgery unless there will be random injuries coming about in the following weeks.

Also for the first time in years? Rangers players are eligible to play at the World Championships and three will be going – Brady Skjei will be representing the Americans, Derick Brassard is joining Team Canada and Mats Zuccarello is expected to join Norway’s team. (As of this writing, I don’t believe that is official but it sounds like he is going.)

Everyone else is headed home. Will they back next year? Individually they want to think so. But since Vigneault said even the coaching staff isn’t guaranteed to be the same, I think the players know that this year, no one is safe.


(Photo: Melissa Andus)


Break Up Day Filled With Positive Vibes For Rangers

Today might be the hardest day for Rangers fans as the boys are cleaning out their lockers at the MSG Training Center rather than having a morning skate at the Garden. While I’m sure everyone has access to all this information, below is a rundown of everything that happened today. (Consider it a cheat sheet all in one place.) Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of news and to me, this break up day seemed different than in years past. Since I obviously was not there, I’ve linked to where any news or quotes came from.


The one positive to the season ending is we can finally find out what “bumps and bruises” the players have been playing with. For instance, we finally know Cam Talbot’s mystery injury was a broken right hand sustained during warmups of Game 6 against Montreal. I watched those warmups and never noticed anything. Thank goodness the team didn’t need him because I’m pretty sure he was never day-to-day.

Dan Girardi said his only injury was a dislocated pinky suffered in Game 2 against the Kings. I knew about that since I saw it wrapped in every interview but I’m finding it hard to believe that was his only injury. Apparently he was surprised too:

I mean I’m glad he doesn’t have any serious injuries but I needed an explanation for his play in the Final. Unless one bad game led to loss of confidence and it just spiraled really quickly from there. But that’s never happened with him so I want another explanation. Just tell us the damn injury, Dan!

Other than those two, it sounds like the team is relatively healthy. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons they got as far as they did but I will admit I’m surprised there isn’t more coming out. That said, I won’t be surprised if the team announces random surgeries a week from now.

Free Agents

The other order of business today was the fact that half the team has contracts expiring at the end of the month. I will do my usual “keep or dump” over the next week to give my opinions on who should stay and go but here’s what they’re saying:

~ Dominic Moore would love to stay with the Rangers. No surprise there. Won’t be a surprise when he re-signs either.

~ While his contract isn’t up until next summer, Marc Staal did say he hopes to have a new contract this summer but not the end of the world if he doesn’t. Note to Glen Sather: If he wants to stay, get this done now. I’m pretty sure Sather learned his lesson from last summer so will try and do that.

~ Speaking of Staal, he said he wants Anton Stralman to stay. Stralman said he wants to return but is concerned about financial security for his family. He has four kids and knows he will get paid if he goes UFA so this is no surprise nor can I blame him. He will have to take less to stay in New York and doesn’t sound like he intends on doing that.

~ Brian Boyle reiterated he loves New York. I believe him when he says that. But we’ll see how much he loves New York in two weeks when teams are lining up to pay him. He’s another one who will get paid if he goes UFA (plus there may be an opening in Boston) and he knows it. He also wants a bigger role than he currently has and sounds like Vigneault told him he won’t get that here. He won’t and I can’t blame him for wanting more.

~ Derick Brassard talked about keeping his line together. I guess that means he plans to stay. Or since he’s a RFA, he assumes he has no other choice.

~ This has nothing to do with his free agent status but since we’re talking about that line, Mats Zuccarello had the quote of the day with this:

Whatever you want to believe, Zuccarello. I may not be a fan of St. Louis but there is no question the guy is one of the most in-shape NHLers.

~ And finally, we have Brad Richards. While he isn’t a free agent yet, most believe he will be soon. The fact that he didn’t speak today probably confirms that. I’m going to write a full post on Richards but needless to say he has been a big part of the past three years (in a good way) and I don’t think any of us expected that when he received the contract he did back in the summer of 2011.


And with that, it is officially the off season. Part of me feels like it came too soon. The other part of me can’t believe it took until mid-June to have to write this post. The boys were positive today and I am too. This isn’t the last time their season will end in June. Is it October yet?


(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Another Memorial Day = Another Break-up Day For Rangers

(Photo: Jesse Spector/flickr)

Even though the loss didn’t hurt, I miss these boys already. Two out of the three guys in this picture are free agents this summer. The one on the right better be back next year. (Photo: Jesse Spector/flickr)

Two days after their season ended, the Rangers were back at their practice facility one last time to empty out their lockers. No real surprises as everyone who played said they weren’t hurt, everyone who didn’t said they had the injuries we expected and all were disappointed at when their season ended. (Sadly, I believe it from some of them. Others, it just sounded like words. Maybe I am more bitter that I thought about this loss.)

I’m going to break down the quotes and news into sections. First the boys who are free agents this summer:

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