by Patrick Hoffman on 12/10/09 at 03:21 PM ET
From Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants:
That the play of rookie defenseman Matt Gilroy had cooled somewhat since the beginning of the season was fairly obvious. Still, it’s somewhat of a surprise today that the Rangers have assigned the 25-year-old Hobey Baker winner to Hartford (AHL) today while retaining 25-year-old Finnish rookie Ilkka Heikkinen, at least for the time being.
Gilroy, scoreless in his last four, has four goals and two assists in 30 games. Defensively, Gilroy was beaten one-on-one on both Dustin Byfuglien’s winner in last night’s 2-1 overtime loss at Chicago and by Jonathan Toews in the second period, though Henrik Lundqvist managed to kick out his right pad to stone Toews. He played 14:32 against the Blackhawks - paired again with Wade Redden, who returned after five games out due to a shoulder injury - the least amount of ice time among the six defensemen. Heikkinen played two games after being recalled from the Wolf Pack and coach John Tortorella has mentioned several times Heikkinen needs work positionally, he likes Heikkinen’s desire to use his body against the opponents.
Financially, Gilroy signed a two-year deal worth $3.5 million so this gives the Rangers, tight against the salary cap, a little wiggle room.
The Rangers, who arrived in early this morning from Chicago, are not skating today but will be back on the ice tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Click here for more. What do you folks think of this? I know that as a rookie, there will always be bumps along the way but he got caught flat footed on last night’s OT goal and has not looked as confident with or without the puck. Hopefully, this will make him take a step back and realize that the NHL isn’t as easy as it seems sometimes.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
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