Nothing new to report on the Flames-Rangers trade, still not done due to complications that arose Sunday. Canadian reports still have the Flames holding up the deal. And there is speculation that the deal stalled upon Calgary’s insistence that Christopher Higgins be in the trade (why wouldn’t the Rangers want to give him up?). I am standing by reports here throughout last night that it’s Kotalik holding it up. Kotalik has a limited no-trade that lists three teams to which he cannot be traded without his permission, and Calgary is one of them.
So while we wait:
It’s hard to believe that the Rangers would give Kotalik such a clause, then actually be arrogant enough to trade him to one of those teams without his permission and expect him to report. I’m sure he will at some point, but don’t be surprised if he holds it up for a while.
It’s also hard to believe that the Flames, including the Sutter brothers, scouted the Rangers so intently for these last two weeks and still made a trade for Kotalik, who played just once, and awfully, and who has an albatross contract … and Higgins! Higgins, who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.
Must be a nice day out West for Higgins, today, stuck in limbo as he is. Correction from last night: Higgins will be a UFA this summer. I wrote he’d be restricted.
Brandon Prust, the center coming this way from Calgary, has 18 fighting majors (plus four in the preseason) this season, for 98 PIMs. Think he might see Mr. Carcillo when the Rangers play the Flyers? Thanks to reader loneranger for linking us to Prust’s fight card.
In Olli Jokinen, the Rangers get a lazy-but-skilled big forward who will drive John Tortorella nuts and will probably be shopped at the deadline, if not sooner, and at the very worst, will leave via free agency July 1. He also serves as a reminder of one of the vworst Islanders trades ever: Jokinen and Roberto Luongo to Florida for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha (woof).
About last night’s game: Do you know who got no credit for the third Gaborik goal, but deserved a lot of it? Callahan, who hustled and broke up the play in front of the Rangers net with both Staal and Girardi in the same corner and nobody on the Avalanche player in front. Then it went the other way.
Good job by Ocho. Good job by Gaborik (I can’t believe people started to get down on him when he slumped, which was inevitable and happens to every scorer not named Gretzky or Lemieux at some point). More important, I thought the puck pressure, energy and defensive play (especially by the forwards) was much better. The Rangers can make it a good trip tomorrow in L.A., where the Kings come off a sweep of their trip, but face the dreaded and dependable NHL curse of the first game back from a three-or-more game trip.
Hate to toot the Rangers Report (aka Festivus or Boneheads) blog’s horn, but we were all over the holdup last night. Who says we don’t do live news?
And there is no better place than right here when something’s happening. You guys did unbelievable traffic numbers last night. We were slightly ahead of last January’s month numbers when the day began, and ended up blowing past Jan. ‘09 by midnight.