Rangers-Thrashers in review

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That’s a win that feels like two. Or three. Given what they had going into the game, and what they lost (Girardi and Prust) during the game, and again being behind after two periods, and tying it up in the third, and playing a wild overtime and then having the Italian kid from Norway win it in the shootout … wow!

It gives them a little leeway in the last two games before the well-earned and very-much-needed six-day all-star break.

Thoughts:

1) You guys already know what I think about the skills competition, but since they have them, and since they count, well, you’d better win them. And the Rangers have this little weapon (whose name ends in ELLO, which for some reason I like) who, along with the goaltender, got them a second point in a three-point game against a team on their tails.

2) That said, I thought Mats Zuccarello was fantastic during the 65 minutes of actual, you know, hockey, too. And Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular when things weren’t going so well for the Rangers, both in the Original 65 and in the skills competition. Lundqvist could be blamed for neither goal, and he really gave the team a chance to come back. He’s been really good for a while now.

3) I know he won’t take it if he doesn’t have to, but Brandon Prust really ought to call in sick for these next two games, or be given the days off, so he can have nine days to heal a bum shoulder, a bad hand and now a badly bruised foot. It looked like he couldn’t move that shoulder for the whole game, and then he played a ton limping on that foot — which he had to think might be broken — and he was still out there. So I suspect that if he can skate at all, and if he can hold his stick, he’ll be on the ice against Alex Ovechkin (who had a hat trick last night) on Monday.

4) Brian Boyle=well, you know. Oh, hell, I’m going to say it again. Brian Boyle=Monster. You know what I really like about this guy. He wants to be even better than this. He wants to be a great player, not just a good player. He really does. And the way he works, and the way he cares, he might get there.

5) I liked what Dan Girardi did, tossing hands with the captain of the Thrashers after a borderline hit on Marc Staal. Hey, that’s your partner, you think he’s hurt, you think it was a cheap shot, you go after the guy. That’s how this team’s togetherness was built in the preseason and early in the regular season. And I thought that shove on Staal, when he was off-balance like that, was at least dangerous, and possibly dirty, and I’ve seen lesser shots in the same situation called penalties. Put it another way, if Sean Avery did that …

6) Speaking of Sean Avery, the guy has really taken on some responsibility and ownership of the team with the additional ice time he’s had out of necessity. Loved the way he played in Atlanta.

7) If Girardi can’t play, well, paging Michael Del Zotto. I think they should send MDZ to D.C. anyway, as a precaution. (Ooops, I wrote that before they recalled him and Evgeny Grachev).

8) Dustin Byfuglien is a pretty scary guy to play against, but the Rangers did a pretty good job on him, and Boyle beat him for the tying goal. Marc Staal, who had a tough game in Raleigh the other night, rebounded very well, and stopped Big Buff with a neat little skate check. Staal was superb in this game.

9) That center-ice camera position … could it have been any further from the ice? Was it even in Atlanta?

10) Did Zuccarello say “Aasen” during the post-game?

11) Thought that some of the other kids also had big games, especially the veteran of the rookies, Derek Stepan, along with Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh.

12) This is way, way overdue, but kudos to the Rangers for being so honest with their fans about injuries this season. They are one of the few teams, if not the only team in the NHL, to not treat their fans like jackwagons. Good for them, and good on them.

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AP Photo, above.

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Congratulations, Lev! You have been declared by the judge (me) as the winner and champion of our ticket contest! You are the man! I’ll let you know how we’re going to go about delivery.

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207 Comments

  1. What a game, I can’t believe the injuries on this team. It seemed as if Buf was just picking them off one by one with his slapper.

  2. Leggo my Zuccharello on

    Still feels like this team is sleeping through the first period. I don’t know if it just takes them a period to establish their game, but spotting the other team a goal is starting to give me fits.

    Gritty teams can play catch up, but that only works for so long. Any way they can lengthen that all star break?

  3. Good morning, boneheads! I have to be honest and say that after the second goal I didn’t think they would be able to come back this time. Not with all the injuries, and not with Girardi and Prust out. Was I ever wrong.
    Don’t underestimate this win, and not only from the point of view of the standings. More importantly, the way they came back will do wonders for this young team’s togetherness, believe in each other and confidence. The win, and Girardi’s fight.

    In terms of the next two games. I think if they get 1 point out of those and remain 8 games above .500, they will be fine. If they take 2 points, it’s a bonus.
    Just imagine what they will start looking like when Callahan, Fedotenko and Dubinsky come back.
    I’m a little less optimistic about Prospal.. Now, when they are back, I’d have to say that it’d be time to sit Drury. Sadly, he just doesn’t look like he fits with this team’s play. And I like Chris. It’s just I’m afraid he totally lost his skating ability, his shot, and his confidence. Someone mentioned it last night, and he could be right: it’s possible that Glencross’ hit did him in.

    We often forget to mention because we tend to take it for granted. But, Hank=Monster.

    Lastly, I’ll bet an expensive dinner in NY restaurant of your choice, if Prust’s skate fits his foot, he will be in the line up on Monday.

  4. Morg (one of The Nine) on

    point #4,how good is Sather looking now for the 3rd rounder he gave up?

    I used to call Boyle Gentle Ben,but man,i think Brian has finally grown into his height.

  5. Doodie Machetto on

    Carp, I think Matt was a one-time visitor. He probably saw the score of the game and thought it wasn’t his, so he lost, and he never came back.

    I still think you should have just given them to Sally.

  6. this team is for real. thats been established. now its just a question of if they can stay afloat and for how long before they can get healthy. id hate to see them in the same spot they were in last year come march not because of team flaw but because of injury.

  7. Boyle, btw, split two All-Star D-men on his goal.

    The PP play remains a huge issue, they were nowhere near to being dangerous during 5 on 3. I do believe that to be a coaches issue, but only partially. The absence of a true shooter from the blue line may hamper their ability to do any damage in the playoffs. Sather may need to deal with that. Montreal was very smart when they picked up Wisniewski.

  8. This team has grit & doesn’t quit – as many of our Ranger teams in the past have done. Headed to the game Monday in DC (live there now) and curious to see how they do. I am hopeful it isn’t just a matter of time before the injuries catch up. Getting through the next couple of games without any more damage and allowing those injured blueshirts to rest would be huge.
    LGR!

  9. By the way, I don’t mean to be a pain in the neck, but why are the Rangers 7th., and not 6th. in EC standings? I know Montreal played one game less, but the first tiebreaker is the wins, and they have one more than Montreal.

  10. If they want Gaborik, they obviously wont be giving up Kopitar, Brown, Johnson or Doughty. I want Brayden Schenn, Justin Williams, Tyler Toffoli, one of their top defensive prospects (Hickey, Voynov, Forbert or Teubert) and a conditional pick.

    obviously Gaborik is going nowhere but that’s a package that would be really hard to turn down.

  11. I think teams that play fewer games are always seeded higher because it is assumed they’ll win their games in hand.

  12. ilb2001

    actually the first tie breaker is “The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage)”.

  13. JBytes- if the season ended today for whatever reason- the Rangers would be in 6th. That’s how the standings should be, IMO.

  14. yeah the higher win total tiebreaker is applied when both teams have played same amount of games

    everyone already said what i was thinking…last night’s win will go along way. i think we’ve said this about 5 or 6 times this season.

  15. Carp, great write up. I agree on all accounts. Great gritty win last night. Just shows, that when you play within a system, and stick to your plan, even if you don’t have a team loaded with talent, you can win games.

    I also wanted to say that I like the piece in the Post on Torts defending John MacLean. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan at all of the Devils and their organization, but I do respect what that team has done for years. To add to that, John MacLean is a good guy. When he was with the Devils he was a good guy, and when he played for us he was a good guy, and was definitely, IMO, mistreated in how he was dealt with. Yes, his time had passed, but the way it was dealt with was just garbage.

    Either way, I am a fan of Torts, maybe more now than I ever was, but I like how he stuck up for someone who probably needs sticking up for right now. Say what you want about the Devils and their organization, and don’t get me wrong, because I love how awful they are this year, but I will say it again, good man, did so many things for their organization, was his dream to coach that team, and it failed miserably. You don’t need other people, other coaches for that matter, making remarks about it.

  16. The season could never end with some teams having played fewer matches than others. So, that premise will NEVER come into play.

  17. great job by the guys last night to come back, still painful to watch us loss every faceoff, but hey we’re winning. yay for the tix win, thanks Carp. trade Gaborik? the deal must be really sweet, and get us a “grinder” superstar or potential superstar with picks back. only then.

  18. Oleo-can you find the link to that tiebreaker ? No matter where I look, all I see is the wins being the first tiebreaker. Thanks.

  19. you can’t say for sure the Rangers would be in 6th b.c Montreal has a game in hand. Considering there is a greater than 50% chance a team to picks up a single point in that extra game, they simply list the team with more games remaining ahead.

    It really makes no difference considering when the playoffs start, that first tiebreaker becomes irrelevant and wins becomes the next thing you look at.

  20. JBytes, I certainly understand the premise, but I can’t seem to find it written out clearly anywhere in the rules.

  21. gotta score on the 5 on 3 ..also for most of the game Atlanta played more like NYR had been the 1st half the season than us..didnt think we’d win it and then came Boyle to tie ..and Zucc was money again on the S/O

  22. Nice move by Torts to speak up for John Maclean, especially since he always seems to hate talking about other teams.
    Character of this team is very impressive.

  23. Paul in sunrise on

    These Rangers are my favorite team besides the 93-94 cup team and maybe one of those smurf teams from the early 80’s. Pavelich was great.

    That said, they need to learn to get the rebound shots to the top half of the net, they seem to be low and in the pads a lot lately. Especially Gabby.

    Like the kids playing hard. The WW deal. The young defense. Just think, if Girardi can’t go, Gilroy/DelZotto – second year guys, Sauer/McD – first year guys – and Eminger (revival or playing to potential finally) – then Staal.

    None of the newbie forwards seem to hurt the team defensively.

    Would anyone try Avery Boyle and Gabby for a period?
    I think Anisimov would be better without having to go against the other teams best defensive guys.

  24. Paul in sunrise on

    The defense (I did not pair them) but woudl for the first time this year have three left and three right hand shots – so no one will be playing on their off side.

    Staal/Sauer
    McD/Gilroy
    MDZ/Eminger

    Thats good stuff by the way.

    NO…
    Prospal
    Cally
    Dubi
    Feds
    Prust
    EC
    Frolov – even though he was immediately replaced
    Drury – oh wait he is in the line-up
    and they still get the job done – thats pretty good

  25. Jim

    that’s not enough for me. I want Toffoli (the leading scorer in the CHL) and Justin Williams who is an expiring contract they need to unload in order to afford him.

  26. Torts was an assistant coach with the Rangers (and interim head coach for four games) when Johhny Mac played here.

    Thanks, guys, for the editing. Just goes to show that A) my career would have ended long ago without the guys who edit my stories and B) writing while taking sinus medication is a dangerous combination.

    Grab, you had me going for a moment there. Always good to see your name here.

    ilb, it is the dumbest thing to not use the No. 1 tiebreaker during the season and only to use it when the season ends. Teams should be listed by points, then wins.

  27. >>These Rangers are my favorite team besides the 93-94 cup team and maybe one of those smurf
    >>teams from the early 80’s.

    As Tortorella said last night, this is really an easy team to like.

  28. Johnny, get the swordfish. Best in the city. The best, Johnny.

    Mundo, don’t use that word, or others like it, here. OK?

  29. GOALS for GAB-orik on

    Good morning all!!

    Wow what a win. I know we sound like broken records, but can’t say enough about the heart and determination of this team. That’s one of those intagibles that makes a team VERY dangerous come playoff time. They are finding a way to get it done.

    MDZ is back! and Grachev getting another shot… this should be interesting. Tough game to come against the Caps.

  30. Boyle speaking about Prust in the DN:

    “It’s an honor to play with that guy,” Boyle said. “You try to be like him, and we’ll be a better team. . . . Poor guy had to get taken off the ice by Coach. He wanted to keep going. We’re taking on that attitude that we’re gonna grind and we’re gonna keep coming at you, no matter who’s in.”

    L
    G
    R!

  31. I suggested the Glencross headshot did Drury in. He wasn’t playing great to begin with before that, too.

    I am all about trading for a defenseman with a rocket from the point. Imagine how many more PP goals Brian Boyle will get from the front of the net on rebounds and deflections if we had a legitimate PP point man?

    Kurtis Foster is struggling after signing as a free agent with Edmonton, but they’re a downright bad team. He could be had for a draft pick and has a reasonable cap hit.

    If the Rangers want to go after a more expensive target, as far as cap hit and what we’d have to give up, Jovanovski, Kaberle, and Regehr should be available at the deadline.

  32. Good win last night, but we can’t keep losing 1-2 guys every game or there won’t be anyone left. Can’t wait for Cally to get back.

  33. Rangers lose the second tiebreaker to Montreal as well.

    1.The fewer number of games played

    2. Games won, excluding Shoot Out wins

    Habs 27 wins – one SO win = 26
    Rangers 28 wins – 4 SO wins = 24

    The second tiebreaker is new and you have to think it was put in place largely because of “game freakin’ 82″

  34. As i’ve said many times the Rangers have a great farm system which had made some very good young players expendable.

    If the Rangers can bring in a young #1 defenseman they can keep long-term, I have no problem trading young guys like Del Zotto, Anisimov, Grachev, Gilroy. The only guys I would not move are Kreider and Stepan b/c they have the potential to be special players. I would also rather keep McDonagh over Del Zotto b/c of his defensive abilities.

    I have no idea who might be available but I look at a team like Nashville that is loaded with defensive talent on their team and in their system and given their financial situation, I still think Shea Weber or Ryan Suter could be available.

  35. 4generations 4 cups on

    Im not a Jets or a football fan, its great to see that people even in their huge ‘important’ lives dont get wrapped up in dumb stuff. Sanchez is a fantastic person, apparently, because he’s never forgotten where he’s come from. Im glad that not everyone forgets that they once, too, were a child.

  36. when healthy top 12 forwards.
    Gabby, AA, Stepan, Wolski, MZA, Dubi, Cally,Fedotenko, Boyle, Avery,Prust, and Newbury? still have Christensen, and Drury.
    I think this group is deep enough to make a run.

  37. 4generations 4 cups on

    Oleo, you have no problem trading a guy like MDZ or Anisimov? Gilroy? Im certainly glad you aren’t the GM. Ryan Suter and Shea Weber have both made their mentality for staying in Nashville clear. They like it there. Kurtis Foster is a name that came up on here that will be a very good option come the deadline or anywhere near it. He has an absolute cannon and simply needs to shoot the pucks low, we have a huge Antropov in Boyle now (except Boyle scores more). Who ever really thought that we’d be talking about Boyle being in this role?

  38. Gabby, AA, and Dubi.
    MZA, Stepan, and Wolski.
    Cally, Boyle, and Fedotenko.
    Prust, Newbury, and Avery.

  39. Yes, 4gen. We can’t even imagine what kind of life this poor 11 yr old had for the last couple of years. Sounds like Sanchez went out of his way to make it a little better. And he absolutely did.

  40. I hate the Jets, but I will never say a bad thing about Sanchez in the future. It’s great to read those kind of stories instead of a team’s arrest report.

    Can you imagine what this team is going to look like in another year or two? With Stepan, Zucco, McD, Sauer and all the other youngsters getting experience they could be dangerous.

    And no to trading Gaborik. I know he’s struggling this season, but you still need the sniper who is a threat to score at any time. He’ll break out of it eventually. I’m confident of that, unless he’s injured and we don’t know about it.

  41. No to trading anyone of value. These kids are growing as a team and they just starting to buy into the system. We have no idea of their potentials yet. Stay the course. If you need to make some adjustments, if anything, we can afford to lose some of the future draft picks at the moment. Nothing drastic should be done before the offseason. If they feel Richards may make them true contender next season, sign him on July 1st. Make sure Cam does the cap calculation, not Glen though.

  42. What is going on with all these injuries? Man, Jim Ramsey must be workin’ overtime (and shootout).

  43. 4generations 4 cups on

    I feel Richards is the answer to more than 2 problems.

    #1 Center- we’ve needed one, he is one.
    #2 PP Point Man – Torts used him on the PP QB position in his cup run, seemed to do quite well for himself winning a Conn Smythe
    #3 Veteran Forward with SC experience. Hes won it and done it and with Torts, how much easier can he fit?

  44. homegrown players are great but not every single prospect and young player you have, is untouchable. The Rangers are loaded at center, especially if Richards is brought in and are also loaded on defense. If I can trade Del Zotto, Anisimov, Gilroy and a 1st rounder for a 25 year old Norris Trophy candidate, you make that move without blinking. I like Anisimov a lot, but we have plenty of young centers in our system ready to make the jump, so he is expendable as well.

    Im not suggesting trading for a rental player, im suggesting trading for a 25 year old all-star defenseman that can anchor our blueline for the next 7 years. We would be going into next season with Girardi as our oldest d-man. its nothing against Del Zotto or Gilroy but Weber is better than they’ll ever be and our youth movement still well intact.

    Staal-Weber
    McDonagh-Girardi
    *Valentenko-Sauer

  45. Sounds logical, 4gen. The question is- how do you position Stepan, AA, Boyle on your depth charts if Richards comes in?

  46. ilb2001

    you have two choices. 1) move Stepan to LW 2) use your depth at center to move Anisimov and fill a more urgent need.

  47. 4gen and ilb …I think we need to be careful with any contract given to Richards. Anything more than 2 years for Richards is a risk to the glue that binds the team. We have a core here that we need to keep together. Having another superstar contract along with Gaborik won’t give us enough flexibility to keep the guys we have for the long term. (Boyle, Dubi, Zukes, Sauer should be locked up before we worry about Richards). People going for Richards now expect to to win the cup in a few years. I want to be patient and the Rangers to be a model franchise that is a contender every year, a la Detroit. I don’t think that signing Richards is a prudent cap move when we have all these other awesome young developing players.

    Drury should serve an example of what can happen to a Stanley Cup champion, UFA center, PP specialist after they sign with the Rangers. Be careful what you wish for…

  48. NYR_FAN- I totally agree with you. And I don’t think Richards will sign for two years only. In fact, I’m sure he won’t. I’d be much more satisfied if this team becomes long term success rather than 1 year run. I do have a feeling that they will go hard after him, though.

  49. Dallas will not trade Richards this season and even if they were thinking about it, Bettman won’t let them. A Cup run goes a long way toward getting new ownership in place for them.

    I would say it’s more of a foregone conclusion that we sign Richards on July 1 than it was getting Drury and/or Gomez on 7/1/07.

  50. NYR_FAN

    i understand your point but Drury and Richards are not similar players in any repsect. Drury was never a star player at any point of his career and his first two seasons in NY were pretty much exactly on par with his career averages. On the other hand, Richards is at a 96 point pace and is the only player in the NHL who is on a 90+ point pace without a “sidekick”. Not to mention this will be his 3rd time his career he’s gone over 90.

    I would give him the exact contract we gave Gaborik 7.5 mil for 5 years and nothing more and if that isnt enough then we let him go…

  51. I tihnk Avery has been playing so well, there should have been a tie for some of the stars.

    Just wondering why at the last few games is there a star from the opposing team when we win? I thought the stars only came from the winning team.

  52. jpg’s sister, no, the three stars don’t always come from the winning team. In fact most writers’ ballots include two from the winning team and one from the losing team. Why? No idea.

    But the whole three-stars system is a joke. They collect the ballots with like five minutes left in the game. So anything that happens thereafter doesn’t count unless an alert team official changes the vote. Late-game winning/tying goals, OT goals, shootout performances, are not recognized on the ballots. Though often people will vote in a tied game for two stars and leave the No. 1 star blank, or just put GWG for No. 1 star.

    Again, the process is a joke. That’s why I stopped voting a long time ago. Too bad, because the tradition is great. It’s just that they need to find a better way to do it. Once upon a time, there was only one person selected to vote each game. They’d say, tonight’s three stars as voted upon by Joe Schmoe from the Daily Ledger. That way there’s no early balloting, no ballot-changing, etc.

  53. NYR I approved your comment, so it’s up above in the time slot in which you sent it … but be aware, most posts with multiple links go to spam. That’s just the way it is. I thought everybody knew that by now … but I’ll remind everybody in the next post.

  54. Richards is also a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Drury was Forsberg’s RW when Colorado won in 2000. He will want $8M per and LA may offer him $10M per.

    If he signs with the Rangers it means he wants to win a Cup for Tortorella.

  55. I’ve always compared Drury to Kirk Muller. Look up Muller’s career numbers and compare them to Drury’s, also see that their offensive production (which was never of top caliber) tailed off as they got older.

    By the end of Muller’s career, he was a 4th line shot blocker who couldn’t buy a goal.

  56. HOw can one possibly overlook the dynamic effect that Avery has when he darts out on the ice and immediately becomes a fast skating, good puck handling terror.. He’s not a great finisher, but by gar he sure wrinkles the shorts of the opponents all the while he’s on the ice. And still for some folks a stranger in his own land. I’d start paying attention to him and appreciating what he’s doing for this team.

    And for those who yearn for a player with a “cannon” for a shot from the point………………..there are guys on this team that have that ability. They just don’t use it.

    I have my wits addled trying to figure out why this entire team is so averse to taking hard slaps from way out like just about every OTHER team in the league does…and successfully.

  57. Drury had some great clutch goals but his career high in points is 69 and never was anywhere near the top in goals or assists in any season. He is and always was a good defenseive complimentary player that would chip in 25-35 goals depending on how good his linemates were.

    In a salary cap world you cant give a guy 7 mil a year when the other players at that salary get 30-40 points more than him. Drury and Gomez were the 8th and 4th highest paid players in the NHL when they were signed yet werent even a top 20 player in the league…

  58. DJK, for some reason, Drury was never only judged on his stats. When he hit free agency he was valued by the whole package that he had: clutchness, Stanley Cups, character, work ethic, goal scoring ability, and PP/PK specialist. That is my point.

    Richards is a more skilled player, no doubt, but he is still an aging UFA that isn’t getting any younger and is looking for $8+ million per for 3+ years…Unless you are certain that Richards will keep up with his career pace, there is a huge risk that he will choke the salary cap just like Drury is now…

  59. Tony- last goal/clutch goal i remember from Drury was the game tying goal against NJ last March/April.

  60. DJK

    Drury just wasnt capable of doing it. Gomez had the ability to, he was just too full of himself to adapt. Either way we allocated 14.5 mil of our budget to two 55-60 point players and that is the biggest mistake a team can make.

    but im not worried about Richards b/c as long as he doesnt get hurt, he should be playing at this level for at least the next 3 years and while in yr 4 + 5 he might not be scoring 90 points, he’ll be giving us 70 and 60 and thats fine when Chris Kreider and co. are getting paid 2 mil and putting up the same stats.

  61. or how Avery often stays out to long on a shift. I counted 3 in a row last night were he was still on the ice, and his line mates had changed 30 seconds earlier.

  62. But is he effective? He’s like a human proton when he’s on his game, and doesn’t always cross the T,s and dot the I,s..but he certainly causes havoc in opponents game plan.

  63. NYR_FAN

    did you also notice how Drury also had 5 teammates with 60+ points and 7 players with 55+ points and he came back to normal and scored 25 the next year. Did you notice that in 2001-2002 Drury went from 65 to 46 points. You wanna know why? Peter Forsberg was out for the season.

    the better your linemates, the more points you are going to get. There are select few, who can be near the top of the league in points without needing to be paired up with another star player and Brad Richards is one of them.

  64. oleo – again, while Brad Richards is a damn good player, his linemate Loui Eriksson is 10th in league scoring. Let’s not pretend Richards is doing it all on his own.

  65. im not saying he is doing it on his own but the guys ahead of Richards in points are Crosby, Stamkos, Sedin, St. Louis and Sedin.

    While Eriksson is 10th in the league in points, he is not in the same class as any of the above names, he could easily fall to 25th by season’s end due to the guys right under him with similar stats and lets see how many points he has without Richards next season.

  66. Paul in sunrise on

    But is Anisimov any thing more than a 3rd line center?
    Stepan will be a second line center.
    There is no first line center in the organization…unless Dubi becomes that guy…

    I like AA and don’t want to trade him (like it is my choice), but I think he needs to be moved from Gabby to be more effective

  67. Drury had 37 goals and 69 points in 2006-07 on a stacked Buffalo team.

    That same year, Brad Richards had 70 points for Tampa. He also had Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Dan Boyle, and Vinny Prospal on his team. He doesn’t have anywhere near that star power now with him in Dallas.

  68. Paul in sunrise on

    Trading MDZ or Gilroy would be a mistake. They are both good young players and they should be developed. Nash will never trade their yound D-Men nor should they.

  69. Paul

    The only thing keeping Stepan from being a #1 center is his faceoffs. He is on pace for 21 goals and 26 assists in his first season in pro hockey as a 20 year old and thats pretty damn good.

    Anisimov is a good player and an eventual 2nd line center but if Richards comes here, Anisimov is expendable and his best value for us is his trade value.

  70. lol some of you are delusional. Shea Weber is one of the top defenseman in the NHL and might be better at age 25, than Del Zotto will ever be.

  71. Sorry if it’s been posted but Grachev may have turned his season around – statistically he was invisible from October to December – managing a measily 7 points. Over Christmas, however, something happened because in 10 January games he has 8 goals and 11 points.

    It sure will be interesting to see him when he plays for the Rangers this week (I am assuming he’ll dress against the Caps, but if he doesn’t he will against Florida I gotta think).

    What he brings to the table the Rangers are still lacking – a big powerful goal scoring winger.

  72. BTW, Brad Richards and Chris Dreary have almost contrasting styles – I don’t think Sather shouldn’t consider him in fear of him becoming Dreary II. I do get the concern about signing him to a 5 year deal and expecting that what he’s doing now he’ll still be doing when he’s 35. He may be capable, but part of that will depend on who he plays with and the strength of other lines.

  73. oleo, you are 100% correct weber is a perennial all star and is one of the top 5 d’man in the league. if the question was who would you trade for shea weber i would say anybody except staal, ldqvst, stepan, gabby, dubi and cally. although i doubt the preds would trade him

  74. Jim- that’s why one shouldn’t easily give up on 20 yr old with his size, skating ability and hands. He may or may not turn out to be what we all expect him too, but you never know. It takes different amount of time for different players to develop. They were patient with him and didn’t just trade him for instant gratification. We may just see what he can do after all.

  75. Afternoon gang.

    What can you say about this team that hasn’t already been said? They are the definition of ‘team’. You have to love that all these kids have come up and seamlessly fit in. They aren’t the players they are replacing, but they sure don’t look out of place.

    No way in hell Nashville traders Weber or Suter.

  76. Good afternoon all!!! To all the Jets fans, good luck tonight! I think I’ll watch myself!

    Can we get Weber for Drury?

  77. Good afternoon, Carp! It’s okay that you didn’t give me the tickets, since I live eight hours or so from MSG and all. Thanks anyways!

  78. ilb: Agree 100%. I don’t think he’s even turned 21 yet, he’s in his 2nd year of pro and it’s only his 3rd year in NA. It’s way to early to write him off, even if wasn’t having the January he is.

    Plus power forward generally take longer to develop anyways. A lot of what he has to do takes guts – the best PF go hard to the net and score tons of close from in close. They take of physical abuse, in other words, and I would think wrapping one’s head around that when suddenly playing against men as opposed to teenagers in the CHL, isn’t very easy.

    With that courage comes confidence, something all players struggle with from time to time (re Gaborik). If he’s starting to combine those 2 he sure seems to have the skill (he certainly has the size – 6’4″ and 225) to develop into something really special.

    He was a dominant force in his only season in the CHL and I saw him a few times play – good shot, good skater and a force for the defenders to deal with when he came down the wing and/or drove to the net.

  79. What I’d like to see as lines once healthy:

    Wolski-EC-Gaborik

    Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan

    Feds-Boyle-Prust

    MZA-Stepan-Avery

  80. Tell me I’m not the only one finding the FOX robot doing the Maracena hysterical. It’s like FOX’s graphics are stuck in the 90s.

  81. Lines 2 and 3, yes. Lines 1 and 4, no.

    MZA-Stepan-Gabby as a line? Looks good on paper, but defensively that could be a nightmare. I like Avery-EC-Gabby. There is chemistry between Avery and Gabby and between EC and Gabby. Then againl, Avery is prone to disengaging in games, so I’m not sure how long that line would stay intact. Doing that would leave MZA-Stepan-Wolski are your “4th” line. Not bad, considering the chemistry they are showing right now.

    Only thing is I would love to see is Newberry staying the lineup. I’ve been impressed by him, and he’s winning a ton of faceoffs, something this team has struggled with all year long.

  82. Mickey, I’m mostly with you. If Aves/Gabby stop clicking, Torts will juggle for sure….but they are building great chemistry (which I think Gabby needs) and Sean has been living up to the task.

    We’ve had this debate here before, but I’ll say it again…..”chemistry” is not to be underrated, and this team surely has it…

  83. Paul in sunrise on

    I would put AA with Feds and Prust and BB with Gabby and Avery. But I am not a coach. Let alone the coach.

  84. Paul, you’d make a good coach :)

    man, I am so glad I’m not in Pitt right now. BRRRRRRRRRRRR

  85. Mama, Avery (when’s his engaged) is the mucker in the corners that Gabby needs on his line. Along the chemistry lines, that is why I think you put Cally and Dubi back with AA. And why I think you leave BB and Prust together. I was reading posts about the Subscriber Forum earlier this week and two things back this up: Cally said he really enjoyed playing with Dubi and that they have games that really compliment each other. As for BB and Prust, they both said they loved playing with each other and joked about being “lineys for life”.

  86. Mickey, totally agreed. And I’m all about Prust and Boyle….you can see it. They have a total chemistry and I love that line, “lineys for life.” did you see the two of them after the Canucks win….made me want to cry, so cute!!!

    Paul (coach), LOL…..and I am free though April if if the sun is hot and the beach is free :)

  87. Paul in sunrise on

    The temp dropped into the 60’s and I turned my heat on.
    Plenty warm for you northerners.

  88. Paul, if you bitch once more about it being in the 60s, I will hunt you down and ice your house :)

    friend of mine lived on west coast….in the 60s she turned heat on, complained….now she’s back in Chicago….wishes it were 60, regrets mouthing off….

  89. Paul….LMAO!!! Bring lots of layers!!! Talked to Sally earlier, couldn’t even complain to her. My -5 is her -20 :)

  90. Mama, the bromances on this team are freaking epic. It’s quite funny to watch them. I honestly feel like this team doesn’t understand the term ‘personal space’. LOL

    Goulash- the easiest thing in the universe to make :D

  91. How’s Sanchez lookin’ today Tiki?

    Like a freakin’ amateur, just like I been sayin’…

    If I’m wrong, and he (and not Brunnel, who should get the 2nd half but won’t)
    somehow pulls an all-time miracle out his ass and the Jets win,
    dinner on me. Luger’s.

  92. Paul in sunrise on

    And it’s the all-star break so I won’t be able to catch any of the action unless the hotel offers

  93. no battery assault!

    poor Jets fans.. waited that long…looks like they will have to wait even longer lol

    Pissburgh looks like a better team

  94. Tony…..70=shaddup!

    hey, all, don’t much care for the sport, but I feel for my NY bretheren and friends….(sorry tiki!)

    C3, next time we see each other, coat check is gonna be like a puppy pet fest….

  95. Mickey:
    Coat checks? Jets? Temps?
    Shouldn’t we be cutting the gibberish!

    welcome to off game night bonehead nation :)

  96. Paul in sunrise on

    I think I need to call up a texture from the minors. Just diagnosed with texting thumb. It hurts.

  97. What’s the scoop? Jets are losing, I gather? Hey, be nice, some of our hardcore boneheads are Jets fans. Besides, I don’t want to be around the blog tomorrow when carcillo flies….mixed with cooke…

  98. C3, bring it on….that is if you actually show up one day…..tiki and Fozzy are coming to NY in February, at different times….mama is hosting all for game/warren night…..dare you to appear!!!

  99. But the Ranger are playing the Caps tomorrow, not the Pens or Flys.

    I kid, I kid. I know what ilb is talking about.

  100. MickeyM- I can assure you that the mixture of both will fly all over the blog if the Jets win…

  101. Mickey, I am so nervous about tomorrow….plus really want them to win Tuesday, when I’ll be at game!

  102. C3, I’ll accept the 17th….I expect the 27th…..or we are all cabbing to Brooklyn….coat check!

  103. Mama, I’m expecting a pasting by the Caps tomorrow night, sad to say. With all the injuries and the Caps lookin for blood after the boys shellacked them last night.. it ain’t gonna be pretty. And I’m actually OK with that. I just want the team to survive the next 2 games without anyone else gettin hurt.

  104. Look at Mama being OPTOMISTIC. Me likey.

    Sadly, I disagree. Doesn’t mean I love the team any less.

  105. Mickey, mama is always optimistic! mama loves her boys! LGR!!

    and mama says TA! for now…..MM, thanks for nice chat….enjoy the goulash….Catch up with everyone tomorrow for our taking the heads off the Caps! LGR!!!

    TA!

  106. and that is it for Jets… sorry Jets fans! Tiki is writing his will right about now

    hey..at least you still got the Rangers to root for!

  107. The coolest game on Earth!

    i like watching championship games and see those cheap NBA, NFL or MLB trophies…do they make them an hour before the game ends?

  108. I’m not sure how much I like Grachev being recalled…he was finally playing to his potential in CT and he was playing top minutes with almost everyone else on the Whale playing for the Rangers…I hope he claims a spot and lasts…also not sure how much ice-time Torts is going to give him…this time with the Rangers could be crucial to his future…

  109. Perfectly said CCCP! Let me apologize in advance for plagiarising your quote about the NBA, NFL, & MLB, trophies compared to Lord Stanley’s Cup.

  110. I don’t know if it was mentioned or anybody saw it, but last night on ‘NHL On The Fly’ Billy Jaffe called Brian Boyle and Artem Anismov “monsters”.

    Bwaha! Maybe he reads the blog?

  111. Oh ye of little faith Mickey.

    Never fear…it will be up to the goal tending as to the Rangers fate in this game tonight. LQ always gives the Caps fits, and it is by now probably their sleep.

    I think that they get overheated when he is in the game. Like they have something to prove…and in so doing may get off their game somewhat. Let us see how it works out.

  112. My mother used to make Goulash and she made it well ( even though it possibly wasn’t authentic)…good though.
    But what is this about adding luggers to it that someone mentioned. She made it with hamburger and I doubt if that is authentic.

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