Rangers Offseason: Weddings + Charity Events

While the fans continued to try and swallow the bitter pill of defeat, the Rangers themselves have been quite busy the last two weeks. Well the last two Fridays.

Last Friday, Carl Hagelin made his way to Norway to partake in a charity event for Right to Play hosted by his friend and teammate, Mats Zuccarello. (I honestly never realized the level of “bromance” between these two but check out Zuccarello’s instagram account. Almost every picture is of the two of them. Too adorable!) Hagelin posted this picture from during intermission:

I am dying to know the story behind that hashtag. I haven’t been able to find a final score for the game but it looks like they did make a lot of money for the organization which you can read more about here.

Over in the states, Brian Boyle was in Disney World that day…getting married.

So how do we know the wedding took place in Disney World? Turns out an ex-teammate was there:

There are usually rumors or pictures showing which players were around for the wedding but I haven’t seen anything so it’s possible Dubinsky was the only other player there. Either way, congrats to Brian and Lauren!

And while he is no longer with the team, I’m going to send congrats to Derek Dorsett as well, who married his longtime girlfriend Allison, this past Saturday (the day after he was traded to Vancouver; nice wedding present from Glen Sather).

As for this past Friday? Another charity event. This time in Madison, Wisconsin where Blake Geoffrion held his inaugural charity event at the University of Wisconsin. A hockey charity event involving the Badgers can only mean one thing – Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan were involved. And they were as they played for the victorious white team during the game. Full rosters can be found here.

The event was a huge success raising $40,000 for the UW Burn Center, one of 45 in the nation verified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons. Here are highlights from the game:

McDonagh and Stepan weren’t interviewed but you can see them a couple of time in those clips. I believe it was McDonagh who put home goalie Brian Elliot’s rebound. Yes, Elliot skated up the ice and tried to score. You have to love charity events.

Great job boys helping out others and congrats to the two who recently tied the knot!

 

(Photo: Mats Zuccarello official twitter account)

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Derek Dorsett Traded To Vancouver

We all knew there would be changes to the Rangers 4th line come next season. We just didn’t expect one of those changes to be Derek Dorsett not being included since he was the only one signed past next week. Then this happened:

Guess the team decided they really did have too many Derek/Derick’s on the team.

I don’t really know what to think right now. Dorsett never grew into the fan favorite he was in Columbus but he did his job and frankly, did it well. He was a big part of that line and while he wasn’t the best fighter, he never backed down from anyone. I honestly wonder if this trade would’ve happened if he had been healthy all season. That time on IR really hurt his spot in the lineup.

While another pick in the draft this weekend is great, I believe Dorsett meant more to the team than a third round pick (especially since the odds that Brian Boyle or Dan Carcillo will be returning are slim; unless this move means the Rangers picked Carcillo over Dorsett.) Guess this means the team thinks a couple of kids are ready. I’m okay with that if the team doesn’t take a step back by making this switch. Then again this trade could very well have to do with the fact the cap was set at $69 million for next year, which is lower than anyone expected.

Either way, what’s done is done and I wish Dorsett good luck in Vancouver next year. I’ll miss watching his warmup routine each night (his stretches were interesting, to say the least). It’s also a good thing he decided to get married on a Saturday rather than a Friday. Otherwise he would’ve gotten this news at his wedding. Wonder how many Rangers will be there tomorrow

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Rangers Player Reviews: Keep Or Dump, Part II

Earlier in the week, I tackled the Rangers goaltending and defense. There were no real surprises there but if you missed it, you can read it here. The forwards bring some interesting dilemmas.

I’m going to preface these choices with two things. First, I do believe this team was close so am not sure if that much change is needed. (Some change is needed but this isn’t one of those times where I think the organization should sell while stocks are high.) Secondly, I’m not that impressed with this years’ free agent crop so some of these guys might stick around just because there aren’t better options.

And with that, here we go!

Brian Boyle (C, 82 games played, 6-12-18, +1) – Let me start by saying I have never been a big Brian Boyle fan. It’s not because he’s a big guy who doesn’t hit. It’s because I can’t for the life of me figure out how he was a first round draft choice. Granted the goal he scored in game five, which ended up being the last Rangers goal of the year, was a beauty but I can’t think of another time he’s ever done that. But this year he found a big role with the team by killing penalties, taking important face-offs and being a part of a very steady fourth line. Problem is he wants a bigger role than that. I don’t blame him but as I said on break up day, he won’t get it in New York. He also won’t get the money he wants in New York. So while I’m going to say “dump”, I don’t mean it in the sense to get rid of him. I mean it as it’s time for the two sides to say thanks and move on… DUMP

Brassard

See you next year Brass!

Derick Brassard (C, 81 games played, 18-27-45, +2) – This one is actually tough for me. I like Brassard. A lot. And want him to stay. But his qualifying offer is close to $4 million and he is going to want at least that. Was he good for the Rangers this year? Absolutely. Plus he centered what was probably the best and most consistent line all season. I just can’t bring myself to say he is good enough to deserve that. That said, there aren’t really many centers available right now who will be any more cost efficient so while he will be overpaid, I have to go with… KEEP (and I’ll be happy he stays. I just will hate the contract he has as there is no reason he should be paid more than Stepan and he will be.)

Daniel Carcillo (LW, as a Ranger: 31 games played, 3-0-3, even) – I hated this trade when it happened because I was worried what version of Carcillo we would be getting. I fully admit when I’m wrong and this was one of those cases as Carcillo was a million times better as a Ranger than I ever expected. That said, he and Dorsett are the same player and we don’t need both. Mix his incident in the playoffs with Dorsett already being signed for another year and I think we’ve seen the last of Carcillo in blue. I still thank him for the goal he scored against the Flyers but… DUMP

Derek Dorsett (RW, 51 games played, 4-4-8, -1) – Since I just said I expect the Rangers to dump Carcillo, you probably already know what I’m going to say for Dorsett. He’s signed for another year and while he takes the occasional stupid penalty or two, he’s not the worst culprit of that on the team. He brings grit and can score so I have no problem with him being on the team. He hasn’t grown into the fan favorite he was in Columbus but I still give him another chance. Will he be on this list this time next year? No clue but I expect him on the opening night roster so… KEEP

Carl Hagelin (LW, 72 games played, 17-16-33, +8) – The new NHL is based on speed. Carl Hagelin can fly. While he would be a great trade chip to bring in a missing piece (true number one center, power play quarterback, etc.), I’m not sure he can just be replaced. His play on the penalty kill is outstanding and he beats more than half the league down the ice to prevent icings (as long as the dumb hybrid rule doesn’t come into play). Is he the most important player on the roster? Not even close. But he’s an important piece to the style the Rangers now play so moving him would make no sense to me. Could he be a deadline move next season? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t make that move now so… KEEP

Chris Kreider (LW, 66 games played, 17-20-37, +14) – Anyone remember when Kreider started the season in Hartford and everyone called him a bust? Looking back, I laugh because that month helped him in more ways than one – not that this stat matters but his plus/minus was always higher than everyone else since he didn’t play those games that killed everyone. Anyway, we all know what Kreider is and what he has done to help the team. Everyone says the Rangers turned the series against the Penguins around for St. Louis. Didn’t hurt that Kreider returned right as that switch was flicked. He is a player 29 other teams would love to have and we now all understand why Sather refused to trade him for Nash. He may not sign until training camp since he doesn’t have arbitration rights, but he’s not going anywhere… KEEP

Boyle-DMoore-DorsettDominic Moore (C, 73 games played, 6-12-18, even) – There is no one who had a problem with the Moore signing when it happened and there will be no one who will have a problem when he re-signs. Honestly, I expected him to mean the end of Boyle as a Ranger and while that still might be the case, I expected it to happen sooner. Yes Boyle is younger but Moore is willing to play the fourth line role and plays it well. He just wants to play and his positive energy is a bonus in a locker room full of good character guys. I don’t expect contract to be an issue so #28 should still be on the roster come September… KEEP

Rick Nash (LW, 65 games played, 26-13-39, +10) – Let’s get this out of the way – Rick Nash is not being traded. Nor is he being bought out. Yes he is horrible in the playoffs and no I have no idea how to change that but he had a very good regular season and is the only true offensive threat on the roster. He just needs help whether it be a different center to play with or another offensive weapon on the team for the opposition to focus on. (Stop me if you’ve heard this before. I feel like we say the same thing every year.) If he gets it or not won’t affect his status with the team as he isn’t going anywhere… KEEP

Benoit Pouliot (LW, 80 games played, 15-21-36, +10) – If you had told me back in December that I would even be thinking about keeping Pouliot for another year, I would’ve had the same response Vigneault did when asked what his response would’ve been in October if he was told team was going to Final. His stupid penalties still drive me insane and I wouldn’t be upset if he left. But unlike Boyle, I actually see the potential of a first round pick in Pouliot. The talent is there. It’s just not consistent. But he found a spot with Brassard and Zuccarello and while I wonder if that line was so good because they were all playing for contracts, I’d be willing to give it another shot. So while I will probably regret this by December of this year if it happens… KEEP

Brad Richards (C, 82 games played, 20-31-51, -8) – Oh Brad. This one hurts. I didn’t like the signing when it happened but Richards grew on me to the point that I never thought I would be upset he was gone. But I am. Well I’m not upset I won’t have to watch him on the power play point anymore but I am upset the guy who took over the room over the past three months won’t be there next year. He’s on a decline due to his age and no matter how hard he tries, there’s nothing he can do to stop that. If his contract was different, this may be a harder decision. But with six years remaining and penalties for him retiring early, the Ranger have no choice but to… DUMP

Stepan-cropped

I still don’t know how you played like this…

Derek Stepan (C, 82 games played, 17-40-57, +12) – Derek Stepan is the forward version of Dan Girardi (and not because the two are my favorite players on the team). No matter what is going on with the team, you always know they will be on the ice for a game. Stepan was forced to miss his first game of his four year career in the playoffs due to an injury that would’ve had most guys out for weeks. He was back after that one game. But it’s what he does on the ice that makes him so valuable. Yes we all want him to be a first line center and as much as it pains me to say, he isn’t right now. But I still think he can be and if not, he is a very good second line center. (Just please learn how to win a face-off!) Either way, we don’t have to deal with another contract until next summer so for now he better not be going anywhere… KEEP

Martin St. Louis (RW, as a Ranger: 19 games played, 1-7-8, +1) – Sigh. I’m going to keep this one short because it doesn’t matter what I say or think. St. Louis demanded a trade to New York three months ago and still has one year left on his contract. He’s staying whether we want him to or not so… KEEP (For those who want to know, I’m still not sure I will ever be able to truly root for him but he was a huge help in the playoffs so I’m not upset he’s on the team. I just don’t like what he felt he needed to do to get here and can’t let that go. This is one case where I’ll root for name on front and ignore what’s on the back.)

Mats Zuccarello (LW, 77 games played, 19-40-59, +11) – Raise your hand if you thought Zuccarello was going to have as good of a season as he did when he signed last summer. Anyone who has their hands up, put them down because you’re lying. We all hoped Zuccarello would be a good player but the question of if he could do it was still there. Well question no more as the little Norwegian finally proved doubters wrong. The bad news for the Rangers is that is going to cost them. My guess is they won’t mind paying if he continues to bring what he did this year… KEEP

Don't know what's going to happen with you...

Don’t know what’s going to happen with you…

J.T. Miller (C, 30 games played, 3-3-6, -6) – I am including Miller because he played 30 games but he’s an interesting one. Is this another situation like Kreider where he needed a little extra time to put everything together? Or will he never be what everyone hoped he would become? The Rangers will need him to make the team out of camp next year. If they think he can, they will keep him. If not, they may very well package him in a deal to get another piece they need. I’m not ready to give up on him but I really have no idea where the Rangers stand. I’m going to take a cop out on this one and say… UNDECIDED (Miller is the only player I did this for this year. Cut me some slack on this.)

 

We’ll see how well I did in a couple of weeks. For now, I like the fact that we have a team that doesn’t need a ton of changes. Sure people come and go but we’re not looking at a full overhaul this summer and honestly, I don’t think they need one. But with so many contracts up, it will be interesting to see what Sather does. Oddly enough I have faith in him. He better not let me down.

 

(All photos: Melissa Andus)

Another Win Has Rangers Two Wins From Finals

Since I seem to be saying the same things after the Rangers win a game in the playoffs, let’s get all the good things out of the way from the start.

  • The Rangers finally won a game when having a lead in a series after 13 previous tries.
  • The Rangers finally won a game two after eight previous tries.
  • This round will not be the round of the team who scores first has to win as the Rangers have already broken that.
  • The Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist won another game in the Bell Centre.

I could probably find more stats but today was just the type of game we as Rangers fans hoped and dreamed about. Was it perfect? Far from it. But did it get a whole bunch of monkeys off their collective backs? Yes, yes it did. And in the playoffs that’s really what matters.

A couple of lineup changes for both teams. We all know Price is out. He was placed by rookie Dustin Tokarski, who actually played a decent game. The Habs also got Alex Galchenyuk back, who was noticeable all over the ice. (His play kind of reminded me of Kreider in his first game back so I expect him to be even better in game three.) For the Rangers, Derick Brassard skated this morning but wasn’t able to go and was replaced by Dan Carcillo. Hopefully he won’t be out for long. Dominic Moore once again filled in admirably on that line but Zucarello and Pouliot miss their linemate.

Now onto the game. Anyone who thought the Habs wouldn’t come out flying tonight was delusional. (Then again we all thought they would for game one but it was a pretty safe bet tonight.) Flying would be an understatement. They completely controlled play for the first few minutes as the Rangers couldn’t even get near the puck. And when they did, they just turned it over.

Finally six minutes in, the Habs got the matchup they wanted with their first line out against the Rangers third defense pair. It went about as well as you would expect it to. That said, the goal was a fluky bounce that was painful to see go in. (Lundqvist had made so many saves, to see him beat by a bouncer sucked.) The Bell Centre erupted and Rangers fans had to think they were in for a long night.

Exactly seventeen seconds later, Ryan McDonagh took the Rangers second shot on net – a rifle from the point that was another bouncer that ended up in the net to tie the game. So much for the noise in the Bell Centre. Even the NBC announcers didn’t have words for the two goals they just witnessed. Honestly neither should’ve hit the back of the net but there we were tied at one.

After that, the craziness subsided and the Habs went back to controlling the game. Then with a minute to go, the Rangers first line came up the ice on a 3-on-2. Derek Stepan got the puck to public enemy #1 (Chris Kreider) who made a beautiful cross ice pass to Rick Nash who…buried it to give the Rangers the lead. I’m not sure what was more surprising – the fact the Rangers had a lead or the fact that Nash now had two goals in two games. And because this image is now embedded in my brain, I figured I would share it with you:

I think that’s how I’m going to refer to streaky goal scorers from now.

That was all for the first period meaning the Rangers not only got out of the first twenty minutes relatively unharmed, but actually had a lead. They didn’t deserve it. (That’s not fair. It’s not that the Rangers didn’t deserve the lead but the Habs deserved to be leading. They were the better team.)

Next up was the dreaded second period. I didn’t know what to expect but the Rangers surprised me by actually showing up for the middle frame. I guess since they skipped the first, they figured they had to show up for the second.

It started with penalties that eventually led to a 4-on-3 Rangers power play. That went as well as you would expect it to and back to even strength we went. The best part of the next couple of minutes would be this play:

(Stick tap to @myregularface who went and found that play after I asked about it. She deserves a Stanley Cup of her own for her work these playoffs.)

Andrew Gross put it best when he said:

I have to agree there. It was a great move by Dorsett though.

Seven and a half minutes in, the Habs were given a questionable tripping call to put the Rangers back on the power play. I will fully admit that I originally thought it was a legit call. On replay, it was questionable. But I’m not surprised the call was made because on first look, it did look like a trip. Penalties can’t be changed on replay.

Shockingly, the Rangers now on fire power play scored another one with St. Louis one timing one while wide open in the slot. The Bell Centre wasn’t happy and the Rangers fan base was in complete shock. Of course everyone knew a make up call was coming and it was no surprise Pouliot gave them a chance to call one less than a minute after the goal. The difference? The Rangers penalty kill has been better than the Habs so far in this series.

The Rangers got through the second period and then put on a clinic for most of the third on how to hold a lead in a playoff game. It wasn’t their usual defensive trap and pray. They defended but took chances when they were available. I actually wasn’t nervous watching most of the third period.

Then Pouliot thought it was a good idea to board Emelin from behind. Fortunately it was only called a two-minute minor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a phone call from it. (Then again, this is the NHL so he probably won’t.) For some reason, Therrien thought it was a good idea to pull his goaltender with over four minutes to go so it could be a 6-on-4 power play. The good news was that meant the Rangers could shoot for the open net. The bad news? Of course they never hit it so the last couple of minutes were real nailbiters.

But the Rangers pulled it off and took both games in Montreal by a combined score of 10-3. Anyone who says they saw that coming before the series began is lying. Now to keep the momentum as they head home. The crowd will definitely be on their side to start. Let’s just hope they can keep them that way.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Rangers Dominance Against Flyers At MSG Continues

Every time the Rangers and Flyers play each other, I get worried. I worry that someone is going to accidentally get seriously hurt. (Yes, accidentally. All injuries between these two teams recently have actually been accidents.) I worry that the Rangers dominance over their division rivals will come to an end. I worry that something crazy will happen to make me go back to hating the Flyers. Fortunately I had no reason to worry tonight as everyone came out okay (as of this writing) and the right team came out on top.

(Editors Note: Earlier I worried about the Rangers jinxing the outcome by pointing out the streak they currently had against the Flyers. I am sorry for doubting you Rangers. I forgot that stuff like that doesn’t matter when it comes to games between these two teams.)

As expected, both teams came out with plenty of energy leading to numerous chances each way. (Actually I was a little surprised the Rangers actually came out with the energy they said they would have. Too many times, that has been just words.) Five and a half minutes in, Zac Rinaldo does what he does best – take a stupid penalty. (When beat writers on both sides and those watching without a team to cover say it was a dumb penalty, you know it was dumb.) Of course the Rangers power kill did nothing.

Fortunately for them the fourth line got a shift shortly after it and exactly a minute after the penalty ended, Derek Dorsett backhanded one from the crease to give the Rangers an early lead. The fourth line was probably the Rangers best line on Monday night and they picked up right where they left off tonight. It’s great that they are playing well but they shouldn’t be the best line on the team.

Of course the Rangers we know and love appeared for the rest of the period. It didn’t help Miller decided to completely take over for Kreider by taking his usual dumb penalty each game late in the period. (Hey J.T., Kreider usually takes his penalty late in the third not first. Although I guess this is a better option.) The boys didn’t look horrible but Henrik Lundqvist was the best guy in blue. He usually is but he needed to be through the first twenty as the Flyers put 15 shots on net. His teammates mustered only 6. Somehow one went in. Got to love Flyers goaltending.

Another person who didn’t “look” good? Doc Emrick who spent the entire period mixing up Rangers players. I caught him thinking Brassard was Dorsett and Moore was St. Louis. I get that the numbers are close but when in the previous breath you mention their linemates, you have to realize you made a mistake. St. Louis and Boyle aren’t going to be on the ice together very often.

Early in the second period, Pierre McGuire was talking about Ryan McDonagh saying that while he won’t win, he should be in the conversation for the Norris Trophy this year. (I’ve said both for awhile.) McDonagh didn’t disappoint as shortly afterwards he made a great play at the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone, skated into the slot and let go of a laser that was in and out of the net so fast I didn’t realize he had scored. In my defense, I heard it hit iron so assumed he hit the post. Turns out I’m guessing he hit the back post and the Rangers had a 2-0 lead. Pierre’s first comment after the goal? “Worst trade in Montreal Canadiens history…” I would say I agreed but I’ve never really seen the problem with the trade.

The remainder of the period was a goaltending show with both netminders making highlight reel saves. Of course Lundqvist had to make a few more as the Flyers started to wake up after the Rangers doubled their lead. Unfortunately for them, Lundqvist was ready and stopped everything thrown at him. He did get some help by his defensemen as both Stralman (surprisingly) and Girardi made great plays to get the puck out of harms way in the later part of the period.

To say the Rangers started the third badly would be an understatement. The first couple of shifts seriously worried me as the boys looked slow and seemed to have no communication with each other. It was a couple of scary shifts but fortunately the Flyers weren’t able to generate much as the Rangers slowly remembered they still had a period of hockey to play. It helped that the referees stepped in and made a horrible call to wake the bench up. They called McDonagh for tripping which looked legit to me. But the player he tripped was called for a dive. Even helping my team I had to admit that was a horrible call. Fortunately the 4-on-4 looked like a power kill by both teams.

Seven and a half minutes into the period, Derick Brassard had a terrific defensive shift as he was able to make two plays that prevented Flyers chances. The second led to a turnover with the Rangers taking the puck up the ice and Klein throwing one towards the net that was deflected by Moore through Mason’s five hole. It had barely enough on it to trickle just over the goal line to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. A lead created by two goals from the fourth line and one from a defenseman. At some point in time our star players will get back on the board. No idea when but they have to at some point.

Seven minutes later, Boyle came within inches of making it a hat trick for the fourth line but he hit the post. I’ll admit I laughed. Fortunately it didn’t matter but you know the guys are going to give it to him for missing when his linemates scored.

With three and a half minutes to go, the Flyers took a penalty (right after Doc Emrick had mentioned there hadn’t been many in the game) which one would think effectively ended their chances of getting back in the game. Vigneault did the right thing by making sure he had two defensemen on the ice at all times. Of course with thirty second remaining in the man advantage that really hadn’t been play or kill to that point, Staal felt the need to slash Raffl’s stick and headed to the box himself.

Off the ensuing face-off, with the teams at 4-on-4, the Flyers ended the shutout. I know the win is more important than the shutout, especially since the record was already broken, but I was pissed they couldn’t hold it for Lundqvist. That was as close as the Flyers would get as the Rangers would take their 8th straight home victory against Philadelphia, 3-1.

Of course the Flyers don’t know how to lose (or don’t know how to lose at MSG) so got frustrated and tried to start something in the closing seconds. Watching Simmonds go after McDonagh and Hartnell go after Girardi just made me shake my head. The referees broke it up quickly and sent them all off the ice. I always thought if players were sent to the locker room at the end of a game, they weren’t allowed back on the ice to celebrate win with team. Yet there were Girardi and McDonagh tapping helmets with Lundqvist. Girardi even made a comment as he went over “I’m back!” with a smirk on his face. I wonder if they snuck out or were told they could go.

Speaking of McDonagh, this quote by Vigneault tonight says all you need to know about his play recently:

I have been saying it for awhile but am so happy to hear others say it too. Let me make it clear, he is not going to win this year. And honestly I’m not even sure if he should. But he needs to be in the conversation. I don’t even care if he doesn’t end up at the awards ceremony as one of the top three vote getters. As long as he is in the top 10 when the final numbers are released and is mentioned by analysts when discussing the award. The kid is only 24 years old. He has plenty of years to win the award.

Next up, the boys head west on what could be a defining road trip. No team in western Canada is expected to make the playoffs with one already eliminated and another not far behind. But the Rangers always have trouble out there. Plus you know the game against Vancouver won’t be an easy one. If they can manage to come out of that trip with a winning record, I might actually believe this team could do damage in the playoffs. I know a lot of people have been saying they can but I hadn’t seen it from the team. I slowly am so maybe they are peaking at the right time. But I want to see how they do the next couple of games before getting too excited. This team never does what they are supposed to.

**********

On a separate note, a quick happy birthday to assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson who turned 50 today. The Rangers never mentioned it but the NBC broadcast did so Happy Birthday Ulf!

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Rangers Practice Notes: Dorsett Close, Staal Still M.I.A.

It was another day on the ice for most of the New York Rangers as they continued to prepare for Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks. First they were run through training camp conditioning skates. There was no news from that other than it happened so I assume everyone survived.

Afterwards, it was on to actual practice. Derek Dorsett remained in a non-contact jersey but said afterwards he was allowed light contact. This nugget, per Andrew Gross, might have been my favorite piece of news from practice today:

At one point during today’s practice, the Rangers were doing close quarter drills, moving the two nets to either side of the right faceoff circle and playing three on three. Dorsett knocked Dan Carcillo down from behind along the boards, then skated away with a big, wide smile.

Obviously Carcillo was brought in to replace Dorsett after he got hurt so Dorsett probably (correctly) assumes he will be battling him for a roster spot once the team is healthy. It sounds like Dorsett is close, although they plan to have more confirmation on that either Monday or Tuesday. If he can go on Thursday, he will be the one to replace Mats Zuccarello in the lineup. If not, a call-up will be made. From the sounds of it, they want and expect Dorsett to play on Thursday.

Of course the news can’t always be good for the Rangers as Marc Staal missed his second day of practice due to back spasms. (Personally I think he didn’t want to run the conditioning drills. He always manages to get out of those.) According to Vigneault, Staal’s back seized up so he just needs rest and treatment till it subsides.

“Usually, that’s a couple of days thing,” Vigneault said. “I can’t see anything major coming out of that.”

Let’s hope not. When it comes to Staal, I think it’s safe to throw normal out the window.

The other bad news with the NHL season set to resume soon is that it means the trade rumors start up again as the trade freeze ends tomorrow at midnight. (I believe it’s Monday at 12:01am trades can begin, not tonight.) With the trade deadline a week and a half away there will be no shortage of rumors. And unfortunately, with no updates on contracts, it looks like the Rangers will be right in the middle of those. Not going to lie, I’m a little disappointed Dan Girardi hasn’t taken his name out of that by signing a contract…

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Updates From Rangers Practice + Quick Note On Olympics

There was a mixed bag of news coming out of the Rangers practices the past two days. We’ll start with the good news as yesterday, Derek Dorsett took to the ice in a non-contact jersey. After practice, both he and Vigneault said they expect him to either be ready when the Rangers return to action next Thursday or extremely close to ready.

That is good news as the team may need him. While we all hoped Mats Zuccarello would be ready for NHL action next week, as soon as it was confirmed the hand was broken I knew he wouldn’t be. Today the Rangers confirmed that by saying that he will be out 3-4 weeks from the date of injury. The good news is that he was injured last Sunday which means a week to 10 days will be taken out without him missing a single game. Unfortunately he will miss time though.

After practice, he spoke to the media and said the break happened when he blocked a shot but he managed to play the rest of the game. Obviously he isn’t happy he’s going to miss time but he’s supposedly already working to stay in shape so hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later. At least the time frame isn’t longer than a couple of weeks.

The only other player to have injury-related news coming out of practice was Marc Staal. Before everyone panics, he missed practice today due to back spasms but is expected to be back on the ice tomorrow. My initial reaction when hearing that? Someone didn’t follow their conditioning assignment over the break. I’ll give him a pass though because he’s getting used to being a dad. If I had the option of sitting on the couch with my newborn baby or going to work out, I would’ve picked option one too.

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In regards to the Olympics, I know writers are supposed to stay impartial. But one I’m not a writer (I’m a blogger and I know it) and two, when it comes to the Olympics that hasn’t seemed to apply. So for me, the Olympics are over. Yes I know the USA could still win the bronze but I don’t want the bronze. I wanted to beat Canada. Instead the US team looked completely overwhelmed from the first puck drop to the point that part of me will actually be surprised if they get the bronze. But right now it’s just too disappointing to discuss.

I will add one thing – good luck Henrik Lundqvist and Carl Hagelin. Go Sweden!

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)