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Rangers-Flyers in review; Live Chat at noon today
Posted By On January 30, 2013 @ 12:07 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 162 Comments
Don’t forget to be here at noon for the Live Chat … during which, the twitter widget over there ————> might provide us with a Ryan Callahan update. We’ll see.
1) Obviously, first and foremost, and much more important than a fairly solid win and a third in four games, is the Ryan Callahan injury. Normally, the Rangers say two things about injuries. John Tortorella normally says “He’s fine” or “It’s not serious” if the player is fine or the injury is not serious. When he says, “No idea” that usually means bad, and it looked pretty bad. I’m playing doctor here, because I’ve seen subluxed shoulders that pop back in, but my guess would be that best-case would be he misses a couple of weeks, and worst case would be a 6-8 week rehab, or worse, surgery. In a 99-day season, that can’t be good at all. 
2) I thought the second part of John Tortorella’s remark about Carl Hagelin was right on, albeit it probably didn’t need to be so strong: “I focus on the dumbness of Hagelin,” Tortorella said. “He played a helluva game, but that’s all washed off because of the dumbness.” He was referring to the too-many-men penalty on which the Flyers scored a PPG to make it a tough finish. But I thought Hagelin really used his speed throughout this game, killing penalties, on the forecheck, on the back check, to get pucks, to force turnovers. In the first period he streaked back to turn a Flyers 2-on-1 into a 2-on-2, then took his man to prevent a rebound shot. Too bad about the “dumbness” play.
3) Michael Del Zotto. Some of you guys will never accept this guy, but right now he is so important to the Rangers offensively and defensively. The goal he scored was as much about Benn Ferreiro’s steal and Brian Boyle’s screen as it was about Del Zotto. But the 2-0 PPG by Callahan, on which Del Zotto went to the net to redirect Rick Nash’s pass, was a great play.
5) That first power play wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good either. Brad Richards, no longer a point man, was still drifting toward the point, and for a portion of the power play the Rangers had four players above the circles. It won’t work. It can’t. And I’m sure they don’t practice it that way. Again, on the second PP, they had Dan Girardi on one point, Del Zotto on the other — though he didn’t stay there — Richards won the draw, Nash made the play to Del Zotto, Callahan did what he does on the rebound. That’s the way you do it.
6) As a hockey player, Tom Sestito makes Mike Rupp look like Mike Bossy. Eventually, Peter Laviolette has to figure out that there’s not going to be a lot of success when those two jackwagons are in the lineup. Doesn’t he? That said, the Flyers sure miss Scott Hartnell, and their defense is suspect, though their goalie — again, I can’t believe I’m typing this, was pretty good in the first two meetings.
7) How about that play in the second where Ryan McDonagh missed the net then raced back and caught Wayne Simmonds from behind?
8) Until the PPG, when Jeff Halpern failed to identify Kimmo Timonen as three Rangers and three Flyers battled in the corner and Simmonds won the battle, this was easily Halpern’s best game as a Ranger … also the fourth line got to play some shifts. Halpern excelled on the 5-on-3, even after being hurt by a shot and losing his stick.
9) So what do the Rangers do now? Taylor Pyatt, I guess, has to play second-line minutes with Hagelin and Derek Stepan. Unless Chris Kreider can come back quickly, the Rangers will have to bring up a forward, or use Stu Bickel on the fourth line and also move up Rupp. I don’t see that as an ideal option by any stretch.
10) This, I thought, was also Henrik Lundqvist’s best game of the season. He was tested, especially late in the first, and then for the final 13 minutes after the Flyers cut it to 2-1. Almost vintage. And as far as playing Martin Biron … yeah, they need to get him a game here and there just in case they need him at some point … but there really is no reason that Lundqvist can’t play all or most of the games for the foreseeable future. And I’m sure he’d want to play them all, or as many as they’ll let him play.
Headzo’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. Michael Del Zotto – D man providing O. 2 points & solid defense.
2. Ryan Callahan – game winner & career point #200.
3. Rick Nash – power play assist and typical threat.
Kenny Albert Rules!’ Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Michael Del Zotto.
3. Ryan Callahan.
Your poll vote for the Three Rangers Stars:
1. Michael Del Zotto (24.46 %).
2. Henrik Lundqvist (21.71 %).
3. Ryan Callahan (12.54 %).
Photo credits: Top, AP photo; others by Getty Images.
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