Rangers-Islanders in review



1) The whole Ryan Callahan situation threw a cloud over the game, IMO. And will continue to hover over whatever the Rangers do from now until the March 5 trade deadline, or perhaps the Olympic-break roster freeze Feb. 7. If they think they won’t be able to re-sign Callahan, he’s a goner. And they apparently won’t go near seven years, $42 million. “I’m here, my heart’s here, I want to be here,” Callahan said after the game. “So that’s all I worry about on the ice.” Click here for my story.

2) Henrik Lundqvist. After this performance, Alain Vigneault said “that’s as big as I’ve seen him come up for us this season.” Not sure if I agree that Lundqvist hasn’t been that good before, because I’ve seen him be so good so often. But, man, when the Islanders took over the game late in the first and for most of the second, Lundqvist was pretty sensational. Some of the saves he made were eye-popping. And before the only goal he allowed, the uncontested dunk at the left post by a guy with 24 goals, he killed that penalty all by himself, with no help. The PKers were gassed when Kyle Okposo scored before Ryan McDonagh could get out of the box and into the play.New York Islanders v New York Rangers

3) Speaking of the Rangers’ special teams, the PP has suddenly dried up. Not even getting the good looks it had been getting. Now 0-for-20 the last five games. It only cost the Rangers one game, vs. St. Louis, IMO, but it needs to be a lot better than it’s been. Prior to that, even when it failed to score the PP moved the puck and had chances. It had a few last night. Too few. Maybe it’s just one of those droughts you hit in a season.

4) That said, I have long given Brad Richards a lot of credit for the PP success this season, and I didn’t think he was very good there last night. In fact, I thought this was one of Richards’ worst games of the season in all phases, and he took a third-period penalty … and then he scored on the breakaway. Huge goal. That’s why you need skill. Guy can have a rough night and pop one and help build a win.

5) The Daily Nash-O-Meter. I didn’t realize this until Pat Leonard pointed it out to me. Nash was credited with 15 shots attempted — one blocked, seven that didn’t hit the net. That’s a lot of attempts. I thought both he and Chris Kreider tried a few too many one-on-one moves that failed and/or passes when a shot was warranted. Kreider was a bull though. It’s just that, on a lot of their shifts, they caused havoc in the offensive zone, and on a lot of them, they caused havoc in the defensive zone. Good thing Derek Stepan’s defensive game is back where it belongs. And Stepan, the passer in the bunch, I thought took some shots he wouldn’t have taken earlier in the season.nash vs. nyi

6) In fact, the Rangers were all a little too pass-happy for me. Especially when the game opened up in the first. I thought they had chances to pile on their 1-0 lead.

7) I’ve said this before about Nash. I don’t recall a player of his size or stature who gets fouled as often as he does without getting a call.

8) Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi vs. John Tavares. Another bagel for No. 91. McDonagh was a McMonster physically, too, then fired in the empty-netter. Last night he was doing some good behind the scenes, too. I’m working on a feature about that.  Girardi was very strong again. He’s had some head-scratcher games this season, but his body of work the last 20 tells me he can’t be replaced. And he probably won’t be. I think there’s enough middle ground that a deal can get done before the deadline, or be close enough where they won’t trade him at the deadline.

9) And yet one more magnificent performance by Marc Staal. As I said from the frozen Bronx, this is the best I’ve ever seen him play, IMO.

10) The fourth line strikes again. That’s what, four goals in the last three games created by that line? Big goals, too, all of them. In this 20-game stretch, that line has had strong, productive, important shifts in every single win. Every one of them, whether Daniel Carcillo or Derek Dorsett has been on the right. Dominic Moore is miles better than the fourth-line centers they had last season, and probably better than John Mitchell was in 2011-12. Brian Boyle is really finding his niche and his game again, on the wing, fewer minutes, but critical shifts in games, and very good PK.

New York Islanders v New York Rangers11) Derick Brassard seems to be getting all of Benoit Pouliot’s early-season Penalty Box frequent flier miles for offensive zone penalties. Just kidding. That one Brassard took in the offensive zone, for holding, was brutal.  Pouliot, though, took one too. Still, that line played well, created a lot, and Brassard — who I thought was one of the best Rangers in the Stadium Series — got the gamer. Big goal. Set up  by Mats Zuccarello, who is still, 56 games into the season, the Rangers’ best forward.

12) What a great night for the Great Sam Rosen. It’s always a treat to see JD in the house (was he looking to abduct Callahan, too?). And of course Mike Richter. Heck, three of the best Rangers goalies I’ve covered since 1979 were on the ice at the same time. Congrats to Sam, the Schmoozer, my friend for ages, and one of the best people in all of hockey.

13) Staal on the difference between the Stadium Series games and the start to this one: “It felt like a sauna out there.”

My Three Rangers Stars:New York Islanders v New York Rangers
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Derick Brassard.
3. Marc Staal.
Kenny Albert’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Marc Staal.
3. Mats Zuccarello.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Mats Zuccarello.
2. Henrik Lundqvist.
3. Marc Staal.

Photos by Getty Images.

Twitter: @rangersreport.


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  1. I say usual about Brad.. he scored one, but he cost one… let him go. No defense. He is doing a lot better this year though.

    Brassard may have had a bad penalty, but he makes up for it. Very creative offensively, and hard on the puck lately.

    Nash… he had so many giveaways.. they dont even register half of them. if he could only pass.

  2. Gift of GAB-orik says CALLY-CONUNDRUM on

    Wow it’s early. Getting on a plane in a few hours. Heading to the sunshine state. Wish it was for a good reason, but there won’t be much joy in this trip.

    Good game by our boys though!

  3. “It’s like a sauna in here huh?”
    If that’s Rushdie, they’re real.
    He said his name was sal bass. Bass Jerry!

  4. If Sather can pull off a trade for Richards….I will forgive him for signing him in the first place. Guy will probably come back to haunt us…but For the right price..maybe Torts can grab him. That price being the cost of a Greyhound ticket out of here. If Cally is being stubborn about bargining….there is no truth to his heart being here.mhe deserves a payday…but not one that hurts the team’s future. BTW…Boyle must keep forgetting Torys is gone..that block at the end was a thing of beauty….icebag anyone!

  5. Carp.. pleasure was mine. Thanks for taking the time.

    Still think Cally signs, but after Sochi. Would be a dumb move by Sather NOT to see if there is some sort of return for him.

  6. Matty"SignCally"Boy on

    congratulations to our voice, Sam!! Never forget some of his calls.

    Great game for Hank!! He won this one. Other people need to step it up and it’s gonna be hard when so many guys really like Cally. Get this over with one way or another and move on, limp on, whatever.

  7. Get some more norwegians in the nhl!
    They all play with their heart outside the jersey!!
    Go Zuke!!!

  8. Thanks for another great write up, Carp. Sam is the greatest! I think Cally negotiates the way he plays hockey, but it is getting in the way here due to the difference between a hockey game and contrat negotiation. Hopefully, both sides see this and come to an agreement before it is too late…sadly, pussycat Sather may simply be unable to deal with this

  9. iDoodie Machetto on

    I had it the same as Kenny. Honorable mention to Kreider, who was an absolute beast with his physical play and was going to be my third star until MZA went beast mode in the third period. He sure made Clutterbuck look like an absolute fool on the Brassard goal.

  10. Oh, and as all have noted previously, the Rangers were lagging while their best players were not playing well, whether due to health reasons or motivation…Staal’s performance only underlines that! Richards is an enigma as Carp notes, should be bought out at season’s end. Dinner should be on BR as long as he lives.

  11. SeeeDubbb says Sign Cally!! on

    Great wrap up Carp.

    Winning is always nice, it’s better against those guys. It’s even better when you run into an Islander fan and they know, that you know, that they’re still irrelevant.

  12. Didn’t look like Cally was 100% invested in the game last night. Something missing there, this situation has got to be wearing on him.

  13. SeeeDubbb says Sign Cally!! on

    Nash played like pre Olympic pick Nash.

    Maybe Team Canada will let him wear a team sweater for a couple if days.

  14. SeeeDubbb says Sign Cally!! on

    Kern, funny you mention that, I was thinking the same thing.
    I’m not happy about a trade but I agree with Matty that it’s best just to get it done, one way or the other.

  15. SeeeDubbb says Sign Cally!! on

    While I’m rolling. He may have been Tort’s Captain and not AV’s cup of tea but I still think he’s the Team’s Captain.

    What will that do to the room?

  16. Oncupin74yearsandcounting on

    I remember when jagr was a ranger he would be held slashed etc without the benefit of calls, unlike Crosby who if you look at him you get 2 mins.

    42 mil for callahan ? an often injured overachiever getting older .. don’t think so..

    Lou would let him walk let’s see what dolan does

  17. I am heartbroken about the Callahan situation, mostly because I don’t think they’ll get anything back for him that’s worthwhile but his asking price is a bit much. I am uneasy with keeping Richards and seeing Cally walk. It just doesn’t seem right.

    Just a quick note on Sam Rosen. Sam called his first game as NYR play by play guy eleven days after I was born. He’s the only Rangers announcer I have known and I’m 100% ok with that! Great guy, best at what he does, and kudos to the Rangers for giving a tribute that he certainly deserved.

  18. Callahan hasnt looked the “same” all year. Lets not pretend he suddenly looked out of it yesterday because of the trade talk.

  19. IMO, It’s completely unfair to criticize Callahan for going for the best deal possible.

    Sather knows if he gets to UFA, he’s gone.

    Rangers will have to increase offer from 5 years to have a shot. Cally is going to have to come down from 7. Sounds like they meet at 6 or Cally will be gone.

  20. Six years will get him to 34 years old. Will he play 40 games that season? Captain mcdonagh…..hmmm.

    I say give cally the cash but make the deal five years, no longer than that.

  21. @Lev

    I agree 100% – we have not seen the Callahan of old all season. Maybe he’s been slowed by his recent injuries or whatever, but he’s not the same guy he was 3 or 4 years ago, banging bodies, forechecking hard, chipping in offensively. He was a gentlemanly/more skilled version of Avery/Prust. A shot blocker, an energy guy, a grinder who can also score a goal.

    His payday will reflect more of what he’s done in the past than what he can bring in the future. He’d be a great piece for Pittsburgh or Boston, or one of those big western teams.

  22. Stranger Nation on

    Couple of Cally thoughts:
    Was taken off PP and pts have suffered (AV urged from above?)
    Is playing with Richards, so scoring chances have suffered – Mr Ed just does not look to pass to forwards if he is in Ozone

    Would pay him 6.5 for 4 years, which would be overpaying on stat sheet performance, but recognizing intangibles and off ice contributions

    Can we get insurance on that deal?

  23. Stranger Nation on

    Brooks in NYPost mentioned Stewart (StL) had his most productive season playing with Stastny (UFA)

    Stewart/Stastny (combined $12.5M) Cally/Richards (13.5)

  24. 5 years and 30M would be just fine. It’s a good, fair offer. Completely with Sather here, if that truly is what’s on the table.

  25. Good morning, Sally!

    LOL, Sal Bass.

    I think you can blame this whole Callahan situation on the people who gave Clarkson and Clowe those ridiculous contracts last summer. And by extension, the person flinging around that type of contract on the Drurys, Gomezes, Reddens and Richards of the world before them.

  26. Sather Must Go! on

    very tornnon cally, but if he has to go, stewart would be an awdul get; would like a “2” with that for taking our Capt… i idten wonder with young guys like cally, as they get older, married, father.. if some of that reckless abandon gets compromised (not a criticism, just an observation)

  27. I will continue to put it simply: trading Callahan is a *terrible* plan.

    I know Vigneault has a new dumb system that he wants to play but Jesus. Effort and grit and heart are part of any system. He’s our CAPT!

    Name me one team that traded a Capt and made a deep playoff run in that season or the season immediately following. I would like to know if it’s happened

  28. Why is everyone blaming Callahan? This is what Sather does time and time again. He fights over an extra year and we end up losing irreplaceable people.

  29. Oncupin74yearsandcounting on

    4 yrs for 16 mil for cally MAX
    hanks contract is bit long too but at least he’s relatively injury free and if he has to moved at some point he has more value than callahan. If callahan wants big bucks he should seek FA and try it. There are other players to sign and this team hasnt won squat in 2 decades

  30. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    This team *needs* Ryan Callahan. He *is* the team. The things that he brings are *so* important. Especially in a *cup* run!

    Sign him for 7 years. I don’t care. I just want *ONE* flipping cup. Just get me one cup in the next 7.

  31. Can we trade *Ryan Callahan* for *John Davidson*? Love that guy. Great night for Sam Rosen. The man truly deserves it. Congrats to him.

  32. Several people have mentioned to me about Jagr being fouled as much or more than Nash. I wasn’t really around the team during the Jagr era. I do remember him diving a lot as a young man. Or embellishing.

  33. I’m a huge Callahan fan, but he’s 5’10” and 185 pounds but plays like he’s Kreiders size. He can’t stay healthy because of that. It’s only going to get worse as time goes on.

    So I don’t want him to leave, but if he’s asking for that much (which he should), I can’t justify keeping him for that much unless they but out Bucky this summer.

  34. Jagr was easily the most fouled player the Rangers would ever had. That’s why his hips went to crap. In that Pens series alone he had Orpik cross checking him in the back all the time and that one open ice hit after he scored that was clearly a charge and knocked the wind out of him. Jagr just never went down, that’s why he didn’t get the calls.

    Crosby and Malkin went down all the time and got away with it (see Mara vs Malkin).

  35. Cant wait to be paying Callahan 6-7 million a year for 40-50 games when he’s 34-35 years old (if he’s not retired by then because of injuries)

  36. “Jagr was easily the most fouled player the Rangers would ever had. That’s why his hips went to crap. In that Pens series alone he had Orpik cross checking him in the back all the time and that one open ice hit after he scored that was clearly a charge and knocked the wind out of him. Jagr just never went down, that’s why he didn’t get the calls.

    Crosby and Malkin went down all the time and got away with it (see Mara vs Malkin).”

    Jonny, the refs played a huge part in that Pens series. Between the stuff you mentioned, Straka’s phantom penalty late in Game 1, Hossa’s offside winner in Game 5, and many more.. NYR really had a chance in that series.

  37. Lev, fortunately you’re going to have to pay $0 of his salary.

    Buy out Black Beauty, and SIGN THE CAPTAIN!

  38. SeeeDubbb says Sign Cally!! on

    Just watched JR say ” braising the elements” again. That guy is the best.

  39. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Interesting point about Stewart and stastny.

    Great review as always

    Re cally…
    I love the guy, but…

    I’m neutral on the trade, I feel like cally has earned an extension, but 7 yrs 42 mil is just ridiculous IMHO. If it was 6 years 33 mil or 5 years 30 mil, I’d be all over it.

    Slats said a deal had to be done soon or the trade would be made *prior* to the Olympic freeze…correct?

  40. Um, has anyone noticed that Callahan is actually not that great a hockey player? He’s a huge overachiever who gets everything he can out of his limited ability, and I admire him as much as anyone here, but there’s no need to overpay the guy. He should absolutely be striving for a big, long contract if he can get one — who knows how much longer he can play the way he does — but the Rangers are hardly obliged to give it. Same goes for Girardi, although he — finally — no longer aspires to block every single shot he’s near.

  41. Wick, I would think Slats would like to do a trade before the Olympics to protect against Cally being injured in Sochi.

    However, If I’m the team trading for him, I’m trying to hold out until after the Olympic break as my insurance in case he gets injured.

  42. If Cally goes, who’s the next Captain?

    Staal? McDonough? Stralman [:)

    My gut says AV will go with the veteran high priced Nash or Richards.

  43. We talk about overpaying but what if a player can get more money from another team in UFA, but decides to forego that opportunity to sign with his current team? Is that player then considered to be underpaid?

  44. Rob in Beantown on

    I’d give the C to McDonagh. If Girardi gets extended long term I could see them giving it to him. Staal is a possibility, but he only has a year left and there should be a guarantee of continuity. Richards or Nash would be a mistake, IMO.

  45. Zuccarello loves the 3rd period.

    Turned into a real Money / Crunch-time player.

    Not too long ago most here (myself included) were calling for his imminent exile. Serves to show you what we know.


  46. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    He’s playing well with the other coneheads, but I’m withholding coronation for the lord of the midgets until he produces similarly in the playoffs.

  47. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    I’d probably give the C to mcdonut or girardi (if he is re-signed).

    Actually I’d give it to dorsett ;)

  48. To me, if you kept Richards around for this year — essentially one last push with this group of players — you do the same with Callahan. To shake up something that seems to have finally turned around would be gutting. Also reminds me of the Dubinsky move, in some respects.

  49. ATTENTION GENGLEMEN: If you are tired of those pesky urine splashes on the lower part of your trousers from full-length urinals, why not try our new Un-Yuckets, the new knickers from the Brad Richards’ collection? Endorsed, too, by the family of Payne Stewart.

  50. Richards sucks, that goal he score was a fluke, the goalie should stop that 999 out of a 1000 times. All Richards does is shoot the puck non stop. We would have a much better team without him. His skating is average, he doesn’t hit, soft as butter, not much defensive game, and not a good playmaker by any means.

  51. ThisYearsModel on

    It is Ironic that the guy responsible for the disastrous Ranger contracts of the past is now turning the screws on Callahan. IMO, the GM is the problem. Unfortunately, despite his putrid results over 13 long years, he has a lifetime contract and I am not thr type to wish people dead. So we are stuck with him, and stuck with the mediocrity that comes with him.

  52. Callahan throws a lot of hits, but I don’t remember anybody actually being hurt by his hits.

    And once he gets the new 5-7 year deal I guarantee he won’t be throwing as many hits. Other than that he is a nice player, but nothing special to get stuck with a big contract.

  53. I am surprised that the Rangers had such a good week after reading all of today’s postings. No one seems to be celebrating like we are here in California. M’Lady and I have been Ranga fans for well over 199 years and we are celebrating like crazy. Did we not just win three games this week, two in Yankee Stadium, two over the fish, one over Devs? Did we not have a fabulous fiesta for Sam Rosen?
    Sather will do whatever he wants to do. We, too, love the captain, but . . . .

  54. I agree, Callahan is not worth a 7yr 6 mil contract. What hurts is the stupid contract handed out to Clarkson by Toronto but the rangers don’t need to be stupid here. Callahan is a heart and soul guy but isn’t overly talented to get a 7 year 6mil dollar deal. I have a feeling Sather is going to trade Callahan because it appears Callahan won’t budge on his demands and Sather is not going to give him 7yrs.

  55. I am not a frequent commenter (though I am the creator of the Renney Line Generator), but I do wish to weigh in on the Ryan Callahan situation.

    When I think of Ryan Callahan another former Rangers player comes to mind immediately: Chris Drury. Both have been bigger on the ice than their 5’10” frames, bring lots of “intangibles”, score in the 25 goal range (though Drury did have that one 37 goal year) and probably have a life span of about 12 years in the NHL.

    It is hard to believe, but Callahan is in his 7th full NHL season. For a player like Callahan, the next year or possibly two are the peak of his prime performance years. After that chances are his performance will begin to decline fairly rapidly. The Rangers signed Drury to big bucks in his 9th pro year and we all recall what happened. From my perspective Callahan is in virtually the same career space that Drury was in when the Rangers signed him.

    The “intangibles” that Callahan brings have quite a bit of value and certainly drive up his market price, but $7 million or even $6 million is far too much to pay for his services in my opinion. Even if Callahan were on pace to score 35 goals this year I would still question the logic of signing him for a longer term agreement in that ballpark given the propensity of players like Drury, Callahan and countless others to burn out at a fairly predictable pace.

    Proponents for signing Callahan at a higher dollar value often cite his leadership. Rangers fans in the main, including myself, adore Callahan for his gritty play, leadership and record of showing up for big games. Championship teams typically have a Callahan on their rosters. Not to diminish what Callahan brings in terms of leadership value at all, but the Rangers’ leader and true captain on and off the ice is Lundqvist. Others refer to his hockey performance, but gritty players who can pot around 25 goals can be obtained for far less than $7 million a year. This team has holes to fill and even with the salary cap expected to increase, the team is better off saving the cash in my opinion. Another argument is that when the cap increases there will be inflation on the market price for free agents as every team will have more to spend. So the time value of money says that signing Callahan at $7 million a year with an expected sizable cap increase is really like paying him a little over $6 million in the current market. It’s still too much in my opinion for a player who will arguably soon be on the decline.

    While I would love to see Callahan continue to lace up his skates for the Rangers, my opinion is that Sather’s budget should be in the $5.5 million per year range for about six years. That is provided that there is an adequate return on the trade market, which there appears to be in the St. Louis Blues’ Chris Stewart. Of course Callahan should and probably will go for the payday just as Chris Drury did in 2007.

  56. Wicky did you slip on the ice and hit your head?

    Hey he played for the Rangers for a game as well. Just a matter of time my friend. Kristo is leading the pack in goals and points. He’s doing all that they ask of him.

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