Rangers-Canes in review


It says a lot about a team when it has lost its way a little bit and vows to fix that, against a good team on a roll, and actually pulls it off. Now, our view today might be a bit fuzzier if the Hurricanes and not the Hobbit had scored in overtime, and we’d be pretty concerned about your boys scoring just two regulation goals in the last three games.

But, if you paid attention, regardless of the sudden goal drought, the Rangers got back to what they do best, and played a very solid, 60+ minutes. Good way to close out the first half.


1) I loved the plays on the two goals, and the quotes from Mats Zuccarello and Brandon Dubinsky about them (Zuccarello’s remark about closing his eyes on the pass to Gilroy was classic, and his quote on being small was even better; this guy gets it). Dubinsky was a beast on both goals — the first in a great battle in the corner, the second the entire length of the rink.

2) Dubinsky=Monster!

3) Despite his lost faceoff/lost man on the Eric Staal goal, Boyle=Monster.

4) I guess Brandon Prust’s shoulder is feeling better. Kid’s as tough as a $2 steak.

5) Cam Ward was fabulous, and so was Zuccarello’s winning shot. But, I’m sorry, that’s a bad goal, another case of a goalie on his knees for absolutely no reason, allowing a terrible-angle shot to beat him short side high. Stand-up goalies hug that post and that shot hits them without making an effort. It’s an epidemic, I tell you.

5) Michal Rozsival’s ribcage injury might give Ryan McDonagh a game or two on this trip. I’m not rooting for Rozsival to be hurt, but I am anxious to see McDonagh in an NHL game.

6) That play by Steve Eminger, to break up the 3-on-1, was great … and the second 3-on-1 Rangers defensemen have thwarted in the last two games. So why can’t they stop a 2-on-1? And if Eminger doesn’t get the very tip of his stick on that pass, are we complaining about him sliding out of the play the way Gilroy and Del Zotto did the previous two games? And do the Rangers lose in regulation? And is this now a slump? Shows how it’s a game of inches.

7) Did you catch in the notes last night that the Rangers are practicing in Farmers Branch, Texas, today? That has to be a first. I told Steve Zipay that I want a postcard.

8) I thought Marian Gaborik and Sean Avery both played one of their best games of the season. Avery was rewarded for it. Gaborik was really, really good.

9) I thought was cool that when Lundqvist was asked about the young kids playing so well on the team, the one he mentioned first and foremost was Michael Sauer.

10) I think the Rangers want Chris Kreider to turn pro at the end of this college season and get a jump on his career, which would probably start in Reddenville, but soon lead to the big league.

11) Carolina, especially with Eric Staal playing that way, and Ward playing that way, and with Paul Maurice behind the bench, is going to be heard from before this is over.

12) Meant to pass this along from the NYR the other day:  “One of the biggest new traffic drivers to newyorkrangers.com has been the addition of Norwegian hockey sensation Mats Zuccarello. Since Zuccarello was called up, his player page has been the most-viewed individual player page on the site, and game stories including him have been more popular than typical game stories. The story on Zuccarello’s Dec. 23 debut was the most-viewed game story this season with just under 10,000 views in its first six days on the site. Traffic from Norway is also at an all-time high. Last week, Norwegian traffic was 8.3 percent of all page views, placing it ahead of Canada (7.1 percent) at No. 2 behind the U.S. A year ago, Norwegian traffic represented only 0.3 percent of site traffic.” I don’t imagine those numbers went down last night.

13) Somebody noted the other day that I often end up with 13 of these, and I keep surprising myself by doing it, accidentally, for some reason. Perhaps the best news the last few games is that Lundqvist is really back on top of his game.


AP Photo, above.

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  1. Re: #9.

    Sauer has quitely been on of the best d-men for the NYR. I think he is no. 3 on the team now and is climbing the depth chart. Glad to see Hank notices that. What an upgrade over Redden…and 13 times cheaper :P

  2. Love the recap, Carpie.

    I also loved the quote in the Daily News today from Avery regarding playing in Dallas: “I didn’t even know we were going there.”

  3. Thought the guys gave a nice effort last night with Hank (as carp pointed out) being as sharp as a knife, Gabby showing some speed bursts remeniscient of last year, and Staal standing very tall on D.

    Carp – did you notice that Boyle’s line played against the Staal line most of the evening? Maybe the Torts is changing his stripes.

    Although I have often defended Drury in the past, he really has not returned to any kind of form since his injury. Although still a good faceoff guy and a solid PK, it’s a lot of dinero to pay for a 4th liner.

  4. Jay Riemenschnieder on

    The stand-up vs. butterfly goalie thing doesn’t really jive IMO. Yes, Ward may not have been in the best position to protect that (pretty much perfect) shot from Zuccarello but he’s probably in much better position to protect more shots from more dangerous positions throughout the game (as I think we indeed saw) by being in the butterfly. If that wasn’t the case it probably wouldn’t be being taught to every young goalie on earth these days.

  5. onecupin71yearsandcounting on

    That Zuccarello goal put a smile on my face a mile wide..I hope he sticks in the NHL.
    I agree with NYR_Fan , Sauer looks better as the season progresses.
    Maybe Gerardi will be trade bait at the deadline

  6. Great point, Jay. As a former (and untrained) goalie, though, I was never married to just one way to stop the puck, and I don’t understand why a goalie with such skill can’t make the simple transition when the puck is so far wide of the net. Why can’t he stand against the post, then go into his butterfly if the shot is not taken from that angle. Why butterfly on that shot?

    And what’s the tradeoff, if you’re going to have a better save percentage in the long run, but lose a couple of games because you’re on your knees when you could be on your skates?

  7. and, yes, old coach. I noticed that, too. I think Tortorella is getting a lot of his strategy from reading this blog. LOL.

  8. No triscadecaphobia around here. Good for you Carp, who needs silly superstitions! Now excuse me while I mark the underwear I wore to the game last night as they are obviuosly the lucky ones. Big decision is do I wash them or wear them again as is next Tuesday?

  9. Joekuh-rury-mire on

    The Boyle line regularly plays against other teams’ top lines.

    Great win last night. New York is a totally different city when the Knicks AND the Rangers are playing well.

  10. “2) Dubinsky=Monster!”

    I’m not even joking I came in to post just this.

    Dubinsky = MONSTER

  11. thoughful comments as usual carp.

    man if mcdonagh plays friday in texas this defense is made up of a bunch of teenagers.

    if kreider could be a big time power forward then you are talking, hope he leaves school after the season. what else is he going to accomplish in college? national champ last year 2 WJC tourneys….

    Prust is very strong with the puck down low. Rangers when they handle the neutral zone and get the puck deep are a good team..

    gilroy is a NHL defender end of story. If he keeps this up and MDZ gets his mojo back, they should move Roszi at the deadline.

  12. I think Kreider will get a long look at camp (if he’s signed to an entry level deal) and a good chance he can make it. They’ve taken a guy that past two seasons that has made the jump directly from amateur to the NHL is Del Zotto and Stepan. They’re probably cutting loose all of the unrestricted guys (Frolov, Prospal, Fedotenko) up front so your forwards next year will look like:

    C: Stepan/AA/Boyle/EC/Drury
    LW: Dubi/Prust/Avery/Boogaard
    RW: Gaborik/Callahan/MZA

    I definitely see a top 6 opening on LW. Prust/Avery/Boogaard are 3rd and 4th line guys so you’ll need a 2nd line LW.

  13. Noticed Sauer’s first NHL game the kid had a laser of a shot. He has potential to be more than serviceable.

    The goalie either has to glove it or it’s bouncing off his pads for a rebound. Just like last night hard and low.

  14. I’ll admit I lost the habit of looking at the standings the last few years (until the end of the season) but with the Rangers turning things around this season coupled with the halfway mark, I just checked the conference standings. What jumps out at me, is Edmonton! Do you think Renney has much longer? Guess what? They cannot score goals.

    Pat Quinn might be making a comeback.

  15. But I must say Carp that was a great goal by the new kid (and nice dangle by Dubinsky to set up the chance). He knew it had to be perfect and there was very little chance it would go in but as the saying goes:

    “Every shot not taken is a goal not scored”

    If it didn’t go in probably at least create a rebound chance (forget if the Rangers were changing or not) but good play!

  16. Everything I’ve read about Kreider is that he’s got the “wow” factor that a lot of even the better Rangers youth have lacked. Stepan is a joy to watch because he’s got smarts and diligence but Kreider supposedly has jaw dropping speed and can make great moves at full stride.

  17. I not only see Kreider on the Rangers roster right out of training camp. But I also see Bourque playing with Boyle and Prust the very first game of the year next season.

  18. Not that I’m advocating a deal to make a deal, but I agree with the positives on Sauer and IMO, he makes (or will make soon enough) Giradi expendable. Please don’t get me wrong – I like Girardi and I’m not jumping up and down to move him out.

    However, as the likes of Sauer and hopefully Gilroy (not to mention MDZ and maybe McDonagh) continue to blossom/mature, the strength of team becomes the defense in terms of depth, meaning that’s where you now have assets from which to address the biggest hole organizationally: Skill in the top 6 forwards, especially the center-ice position.

    As the likelihood of the Rangers landing a lottery spot grow dimmer and dimmer and the availability of quality skilled forwards via UFA narrows, the trade route becomes the only real option. But, you gotta give to get.

    Just food for thought folks!

  19. 4generations 4 cups on

    You should call your analyses “Shootin’ The Carp: 13 Points of Perspective.”

  20. Good afternoon all! Poor Zucca….when will people stop asking about his height. Loved his quote though……great response. Next time he should say “better than when I was 5’5″

    tr, if you had missed that goal completely I would have cried :)

  21. “We did it, mama!! We did it!!! We bufyglien did it!!! We are the best!!!”

    That is what those happy Russian teenagers were screaming into the camera after they served Canada with the biggest collapse in WJ history and maybe one of the biggest in International hockey!! They believed it… they wanted it…and they got it! Who said Russian hockey has no heart?!?! Eat your words and eat your hearts out now!

    Saw a sign at the game saying “Muck Russia”…Oh Canada, how full of yourself you are! FIVE straight goals and Russia MUCK Canada! I’m so happy and proud that I can’t stop dancing Makarena! Those sad, sad Canadian faces…OH JOY!!! :)

  22. CCCP: You’ve earned your right to rejoice. Enjoy it while you can comrade because next time we’ll whip your butts (kinda like we did last February when we basically thrashed your ‘professionals’ and in the process, enjoyed watching OV’s eat some very deserving crow).


  23. Gift of GAB-orik and Norweigans! on

    Good for Zuke to get a goal… he was so happy! I love this team. I love the passion, the energy, the dedication.

    Prust is a beast. That guy would do anything for his team and i love it.
    Sauer is solid as well… better than expected.

    GO RANGERS!! 6 points out of first!

  24. Shoot the puck Barry on

    Question for you guys: Has Tortorella changed this year? He appears more patient with these young dudes, more nurturing, and it appears to be paying dividends. In the past, I don’t know how long he would have run with a guy like Zuccarello, who seems one-dimensional. Yet he has played him and he seems to play with an edge and is not terrible on the defensive side, too.

    I love the discussion about Kreider and Bourque arriving next year. I would love to see those guys play with the big club.

    And for those of you discussing trades and our defensive depth, don’t forget McIlrath— he may be a few years away, but he is going to be downright nasty!

  25. Barry, i think Torts attitude is remarkable. Patience with the kids & patience with the team.
    I’ve said it before, gone are the days of trading youth for over the hill hockey players .
    I love the new NY Rangers !

  26. 4gen, hah. I like it. Shootin’ the Carp.

    CCCP/Jim, sounds like they had a coat-check room in the plane.

    Shoot, I’m writing a big feature on the new Torts for Sunday.

  27. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Valabik on RE entry waivers……Come on slats!!!!!!!!!!!

    Commodore also on waivers after requesting trade!

  28. Joekuh-rury-mire on

    I’ll say this about the Russia Canada game: Russia had a DMan with the last name Sergeev on their side that reminded me a LOT of Sauer: he was in ill humor every time Canada entered his area of the ice in the D zone. I LIKE THAT. Gonna have to download the game and watch it.

  29. Carp, thanks for the usual 13 gems. I especially like #2, Dubinsky has been showing us those power forward type moves all year, but that one last night was the best!

  30. Carp

    i can coat-check all night long, baby! :P

    Now, the Rangers played a great game last night! Good to see our captain being called a utility boy! Captain Utility! How awesome! Most expensive utility player in the world! That got to count for something, right?!

    Dubinsky for captain!

  31. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    congrats to our Ukrainian, I mean Russian friends for the joyous time.

    loved the #9 point. Give a goalie a guy who can clear the crease a bit any day over any type of d aman and they will love it!!!

  32. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    “over any other type of dman” is how that should have been typed…sorry

  33. if farmers branch wasn’t so far from Houston and I didn’t have to work tonight, I’d take the drive up there

  34. No surprise Russia beat Canada… Democracy has made Canadians soft while Russian democracy has forged them into steel. Russians call their sticks Stalen – sticks of steel! Just kidding – congratulations Team Russia! Well done, just a fine display of your skill.

  35. Juiie (Who Hardly Ever Posts) on

    Hi everyone!
    Lunch time here at work. I just wanted to say how happy I was when Zucca got the game winner last night! I hope he stays up with the Rangers for a long while. I love watching him. OK, back to work…bummer!

  36. not to crow but i totally called the Dubinsky equals Monster last night.

    just kidding with you, Carp ;)

    in all seriousness, he has been a joy to watch this season. we were all wondering where our next power forward was and i think we found him in Dubi.

    nice to see Hank acknowleding Sauer. Dude has been quiety impressive all year.

    Gabby needs to play like he did last night for the rest of the year. As does Avery.

    Really really solid, good game last night. Hope they play that way in Dallas and St Louis.

  37. old coach 92 (earlier post) When Prospal & Callahan come back highly overpaid Dreary might be history. Your new co-captains should be Dubie & Cally hands down. Why do so many people have this love affair with Dreary, unless they remember the”Baseball Little League Worlf Series” What Drury is making is far too much just for PK and Face-offs

  38. I don’t think you’ll find any Drury supporters here

    ::hides take out box of Drury’s pizza::

  39. Regarding the first #5, I think Cam Ward was rushing to get to the other post after getting knocked off balance and thought Dubinsky had the puck behind the net still. Not MZA.

  40. remember how good drury was when he was with Colorado?
    now he is a slower version of blair betts

  41. Probably had something to do with Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Milan Hedjuk, Alex Tanguay, Rob Blake and Ray Bourque getting the attention of the opposing D.

  42. Tiki's daddy needs to grow a pair, as her daddy was told very rudely on

    Mama – I missed the Zucca goal completely….you no cry for me?

  43. Tiki's daddy needs to grow a pair, as her daddy was told very rudely on

    Hey, what’s that supposed to mean, Mama? How rude! (In stephanie tanner Full House voice)

  44. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Who am I kidding, slats wouldn’t pick him up , too much sense at half price!

  45. Doodie Machetto on

    Was at the game last night courtesy of Eric, who was also there about 4 rows behind me (his friend had an extra ticket) and introduced himself. Nice guy.

    The first period started out well, but the second period was really slow. I was considering finding Eric and asking for my money back. Good finish in the third and OT though, lots of exciting action and both goaltenders were spectacular.

    I’ve noticed this about Gaborik: he doesn’t go to the puck. He waits for it to come to him and then uses his skills to try and make something happen. Reminds me of Jagr, except that with Jagr’s size, he could get much further than Gaborik. I think Gaborik has to work a little harder to get to the puck to get those sniper chances he craves.

    Avery was more noticeable last night, but that doesn’t change the fact that he blew at least two golden opportunities and still only has one goal on the season. I also want to say that the turnover that caused the 3 on 1 was an Avery turnover. I know he definitely had a turnover deep in the offensive zone, but I’m not sure if it was that one.

  46. wicky: Besides Rozey, who does he bump? And there’s a reason this guy is on waivers: He’s big and physical yes, but slow as molasses and takes too many penalties trying to slow the faster forwards down.

    He hardly fits Tortorella’s uptempo style. And if he’s that good, he won’t last – a team like the Islanders or even the Devils will claim him.

  47. Avery has taken 71 shots this season, converting one into goal, for a putrid shooting percentage of 1.41%. The law of averages may start working in Aves’ favor soon…

  48. Tiki's daddy needs to grow a pair, as her daddy was told very rudely on

    nyr fan – I think you’ll soon find that the laws of phsyics, laws of averages do not apply to New York teams. Nor do the laws of gravity.

    Occam’s Razor applies to New York teams. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Minus Eli Manning to David Tyree.

  49. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    I certainly agree his skating speed doesn’t fit the torts style at all. I just still think this team needs a crease clearing guy badly and a big guy with attitude to play down low (other teams big forward lines always give us problems in our own zone down low, that is why guys that don’t score a lot, 3rd or 4th liners, always score against us). Valabik doesn’t make a lot of money and now at half price, why not take the shot, if it doesn’t work out, not really a problem at that price.

    We could make way worse financial decisions than pick him up on re entry. No one says he has to stay in the line up if he doesn’t work out.

  50. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    hell, maybe the rangers hook him up with boyle’s offseason skating trainer!

  51. Doodie Machetto on

    “Occam’s Razor applies to New York teams. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

    That’s not Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor is stated generally as the simplest explanation is the more likely correct one.

    You’re thinking of Murphy’s Law.

  52. Wicky —

    I don’t think Valabik is much different than say a guy like Semenov. Poor skater but a beast in the crease due to his sheer size and strength. I agree that he’s worth a try on re-entry…

    I think Torts would resist the urge to get a guy like that since he passed on Semenov. Sauer seems to be molding into a crease-clearing presence. Plus, we have McIlrath developing up in Moose Jaw….Torts seems to really want to stick with the kids and that ain’t a bad thing…

  53. “Question for you guys: Has Tortorella changed this year? He appears more patient with these young dudes, more nurturing, and it appears to be paying dividends. In the past, I don’t know how long he would have run with a guy like Zuccarello, who seems one-dimensional. Yet he has played him and he seems to play with an edge and is not terrible on the defensive side, too.”

    He had a lot of patience with MDZ and Gilroy in their struggles. (Not to split hairs but Zuccarello has only played 5-6 games but I know what you mean.) Drury sitting out so long with a broken finger says a lot about the confidence he has in the youth combined with depth… anyone can get a chance.

    I am loving this young core: we got Cally (hopefully back soon with a padded glove), Dubinsky, Staalzy, Girardi, Stepan, Kreider waiting in the wings, AND REDDEN ON THE WOLFPACK!!!

    Everyone changes. I don’t think it’s so much Tortorella changing it’s more of playing the hand you’re dealt like with all the youth on the team and farm. He is hard on kids with potential cuz he’s a tough love guy and wants the most out of them. Look at what he did to Vinny LC when he was with Tampa winning a Cup and look how good Vinny is now. Three years ago if I told you he’d be a 2nd/3rd liner ON TAMPA BAY you’d laugh in my face. I’d rather have Brian Bouchard Boyle on my team (more goals and points, less $). Hopefully this sort of tough love works with MDZ I think it will.

    He has a bunch of young kids in good condition and if they deserve a shot then they get called up. If not you get to play on the CT Whale until you deserve another shot (just like Gilroy).


  54. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    torts likes the mobility and youth, which is fine, but we are simply too soft on the blueline still. I like sauer’s game, but girardi is really a shot blocker, rozy is puddin, and gilly/mdz don’t really instill fear. Eminger is the only other really physical guy back there besides sauer and the occasional physicality exhibited by staal. Obviously mcdonut is the golden child to torts because he called him up over vtank and ktek, who according to most of the stuff I read on the whale were far more deserving.

    Do I want to pick up valabik and then trade mcilrath, hell no!! I just think at a half price relatively low dollar claim, he would be worth it for a shot.

  55. Tiki's daddy needs to grow a pair, as her daddy was told very rudely on

    My mistake Doodie. Thanks for the correction. That’s what going to bed a 5 am and waking up at 8 am will do to a mind :)

  56. Blue Seat Horror on

    No thanks. Nothing worse than watching a defender get blown by at the point. Roszival’s got that covered now.

  57. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    speed wise, the comparison with malik and rozy is accurate, that is where any comparison stops!!

  58. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    The only thing worse than watching a d man get blown by at the point is your goalie continually getting run or crowded and no d man with balls enough to punish someone who does (no disrespect intended mr sauer). Luckily for us that never happens right?? Too bad we don’t have a top 5 goalie in the league to stop that shooter who gets by d man!

    Of course with all those goals we never give up with d men sliding on their stomachs or knees to block a shot instead of physically punishing a guy because if they are sliding they were probably out of position anyhow and trying to get back, but that never happens.

    Again, a claim on a low half price contract to take a shot at filling a current team need doesn’t really seem like 2012 to me, but I guess to some of you it is!

  59. Tony, I only thought so because of the name:

    *Tiki’s daddy needs to grow a pair, as her daddy was told very rudely*

    Tiki, I meant no disrespect!

  60. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    i see you have found waldo, I mean puddin #1

  61. Blue Seat Horror on

    It’s all bad, Wicky, ie. blown by at the point and goalie getting run. I agree about the missing huevos part of the d-corp. Though of late it’s been a lot better than in past seasons. Ask Dominic Moore aboot it.

    I’d rather see Valentenko get a shot than have them bring in Valabik. V-tank seemed to relish the crease clearing part of defense in the preseason.

  62. wicky(grating CCBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    blue seat
    I would rather see vtank as well, way more mobile!

  63. Late to the party, but good post, Carp!

    Our team is becoming full of monsters. And very young ones. I thought they thoroughly outplayed Carolina throughout the game. If it wasn’t for Cam Ward, the game would’ve been over by the end of second period. Hank was our best player, but I thought Dubinsky was very close second. Is it me, or is he becoming that elusive power forward that we’ve been craving for? I think he should be tried on the L with Gaborik for long time. Gaborik isn’t particularly useful in the corners and behind the net. Dubinsky can carry the puck (he is almost impossible to separate from it) and retrieve it from the corners. He can also pass pretty well. Gaborik can be deadly in front of the net or near the hash marks. And I did like what Dubinsky said about MZA’s shot comparing to his, but he can shoot too. All he needs is a bit more confidence in his own shot.

  64. Tony, I can’t believe more hasn’t been said about that stuff. Does anyone remember any discussions about it at all?

  65. The growing international excitement for hockey is great for the sport. Having a truly international team in NYC makes the Rangers even stronger. It’s cool to go to games and see people from all over the world. Jagr re-invigorated the brand, and after a down year when he left with too many boring Americans and Canadians, this current team is building bridges all over, even to Norway. Good job.

  66. bull dog line on

    you think the Rangers are so desperate for a crease clearer, that they should pick up any piece of garbage on waivers. Please stop with that. if some body worth while should become available, then I would be all for it, until then I like what they have.

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