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Entries with the tag: columbus blue jackets

Four Teams That You Should Not Want to Play in the Postseason

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, every hockey fan is dreaming about the potential of their favorite hockey team.

Puckheads across North America are starting to think about 16 wins, big-time performances, clutch goals, big saves and some great hockey in general. As of this moment, the potential is limitless.

With that said, here are four somewhat surprising teams that you do not want to end up playing in the first round should your team clinch a spot in the postseason this year:

- New York Islanders

As a whole, the New York Islanders may not have a lot of playoff experience but boy, are they hungry to make some noise when it matters the most.

They are playing some of their best hockey at the crucial point of the season and are getting great performances from their young players. The Islanders are fast, they go to the net and they can score.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, brian+elliott, columbus+blue+jackets, evgeni+nabokov, ken+hitchcock, new+york+islanders, sergei+bobrovsky, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals

All About Second Chances For Flyers’ Mason

When looking at the NHL as a whole, it is easy to see that several NHL netminders thrive when given a second chance to prove their worth.

As an example, one can point out the likes of Ray Emery (Chicago Blackhawks), Carey Price (2010-11 with the Montreal Canadiens), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) and so on and so forth. One can probably name several players in this particular category.

With that said, one player who really needs a second chance the most is Philadelphia Flyers' netminder Steve Mason. Mason, who won the Calder Trophy as the league's rooke of the year in the 2008-09 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has struggled to find his rookie form and is now looking to do so in the "City of Brotherly Love".

Mason, 24, burst onto the NHL scene in the 2008-09 season and dominated the league. That year, Mason went 33-20-0-7 with a 2.29 GAA, a .916 save percentage and 10 shutouts in leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first postseason.

While Mason did not play well in that postseason, the Blue Jackets thought they had their netminder of the future. Unfortunately, the team was wrong.

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  Tags: carey+price, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, craig+anderson, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, ray+emery, sergei+bobrovsky, steve+mason

A Steal by Sather?

UPDATE: Dreger said this as well:

Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger
Nash, cond.3rd (goes back to CBJ if NYR make Cup final), mnr leaguer Steve Delisle to NYR for Anisimov, Dubinsky, Erixon and 1st rnd pick.

Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger
Howson managed this trade his way, but the components of this deal were availabe at the deadline and again at the Draft.

It appears that New York Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather is more than capable of making solid hockey deals for the Blueshirts.

According to Darren Dreger at TSN, the Blueshirts will be acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets’ sniper Rick Nash for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, young defenseman Tim Erixon and a 1st round pick. The trade is still pending the official call but should it go through, the Rangers should be considered the winners in this deal.

While Dubinsky has scored more than 20 goals before, he did not look the same last season. He did not look as confident, had trouble putting the puck in the net and was quiet offensively.

Anisimov, although a decent offensive player, was someone who was easily knocked off the puck and was not noticeable in every single game. Again, he was not a bad player but is someone who still has things to work on.

When it comes to Erixon, there is no doubt that he is a good, young defenseman but the Rangers already have a good stock of those. As such, Erixon became expendable.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, columbus+blue+jackets, glen+sather, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, tim+erixon

It Finally Happened

That’s right folks. New York Rangers’ forward Marian Gaborik has “finally” gotten significantly injured as a member of the Blueshirts as we all found out today that he will need to have surgery on his rotator cuff and could miss up to six months.

This might explain why Gaborik struggled during the postseason this year. Gaborik admitted that he got hurt in Game 3 of the first round of the Ottawa Senators but he just tried to take care of it and play through it.

“I think it was Game 3 [vs. Ottawa],” he said when asked if he knew when the injury occurred. “I went into the boards behind the net shoulder-first. I think it was Game 3 or Game 4. I just tried to take care of it as much as I could.

“I don’t try to think about it. I try to play according to the situation. I don’t want to make excuses.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, this means that they will be without their 41-goal-scorer until at least sometime in December. For a team that struggled to score goals during the regular season this past year, this could end up hurting the the team a bit, even though Gaborik said he is going to try and return as soon as he can.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, rick+nash, zach+parise

Rangers Look to Regain Focus Tonight against the Sabres

After last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers need to get back on track with a win tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden.

For both teams, it will be a back-to-back situation as the Sabres are coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the Boston Bruins. The Sabres have a lot to play for as they find themselves just five points out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference after winning three straight and going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

While the Rangers may be first in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, this game should be important to them as well. Over the last week or so, the team has gotten away from the things that made them successful in the first place and that has really come through in their last four games against the Chicago Blackhawks (4-2 loss), Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2 overtime win), Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0 loss) and Islanders (4-3 shootout loss).

On the other side, the Sabres have been playing some terrific hockey. They are getting great goaltending from Ryan Miller, who now looks like his old self, while also getting a lot of offense from the likes of Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Drew Stafford.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, derek+roy, drew+stafford, jason+pominville, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+miller, thomas+vanek

Torn on Rick Nash

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan, than you have obviously been hearing all the talk regarding Columbus Blue Jackets’ sniper Rick Nash becoming a Blueshirt via trade come on or before deadline day.

While there is little doubt that Nash is an offensive threat and can put the puck in the net, I am torn on whether or not the Rangers should make a move for him.

For starters, I am not sure I want to give up the likes of Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto, or Chris Kreider. These are all young, terrific players that have grown up on the Rangers’ system and have succeeded in it (Kreider soon will). Are they really worth giving up on for the likes of a Nash?

Secondly, what has Nash accomplished with the Blue Jackets? Yes, the team around him is dreadful but he has only managed to get the team into the playoffs once. Again, I understand that he never had much talent around him but players have had less than him and have still led their team to more than one postseason.

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  Tags: brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, chris+kreider, columbus+blue+jackets, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

Was This Coming?

This is what many New York Rangers’ fans are probably wondering about after watching the Blueshirts get shutout by the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight by a score of 2-0.

The club’s offense took 27 shots, all of which were turned away with relative ease by Penguins’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. The Rangers made it easy for Fleury by shooting directly into him and not getting to the real scoring areas in order to put the puck in the net.

The score could have been much worse if not for the play of Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist turned in another strong performance for his hockey club in turning away 29 of 31 Penguins’ shots. Lundqvist was especially good in the first period in stopping all 11 Penguins’ shots as the Rangers came out flat.

The truth of the matter is that this was more than likely coming for the Rangers. They were terrible against the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday night, barely beat the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night and were shutout tonight in Pittsburgh.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, henrik+lundqvist, marc-andre+fleury, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

A 60-Minute Effort

That is exactly what the New York Rangers put in last night in their 3-2 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.

The game may have gone to overtime but this is a game that the Blueshirts controlled from start to finish. The team put pucks to the net, controlled the puck along the boards and looked confident in making plays with the puck in both the offense and defensive zones.

The perfect example of this was the overtime goal scored by Derek Stepan. Michael Del Zotto started it all by rushing the puck up the ice, giving it to Marian Gaborik, getting it back from Gaborik, going to the net, getting a lucky pass back to Gaborik who then fired a pass across to Del Zotto to the left of goaltender Steve Mason and then Del Zotto zipped a pass to the right of Mason to Stepan who fired it home to give the Rangers the victory.

One thing that hurt the Rangers in this hockey game was face-offs. Both Blue Jackets’ goals came off of face-off wins, including the game-tying goal by Rick Nash.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, steve+mason

Time for Another New Winning Streak

With the New York Rangers having missed a chance to extend their winning streak to five games with a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, the team will look to start a new one from the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight (8:00 p.m.) at Madison Square Garden.

The Blue Jackets, the worst team in the National Hockey League, is coming off a 6-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last night. They are struggling to score goals, not getting good goaltending and one player may not even be getting along the team’s own fans.

At the other end, the Blueshirts are at the top of the Eastern Conference and seven points behind the league-leading Detroit Red Wings. The team is also 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and have been getting their offense going, playing terrific on the defensive side of the puck and getting Vezina Trophy-like goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist.

For the Rangers, it will be important for them to not take this game lightly. Playing in front of your own fans and against the league’s worst teams might make the Rangers want to get too cute with the puck or try and do too much and when that happen, the Blueshirts usually end up in trouble.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers

Wake-Up Call

That is exactly what the New York Rangers got last night in their 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Yesterday, I blogged that the Rangers had to get off to a good start and put pressure on the Blackhawks early, especially since the Blackhawks were coming into the game having lost nine straight. Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, the exact opposite happened.

The team allowed four goals in the first period as the Blackhawks jumped on the Rangers early and often. In fact, the Blackhawks’ four goals came in the first 9:38 of the first period, including a penalty shot goal by Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews.

What surprised many was that Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella kept goaltender Martin Biron in the game despite the bad first period. Fortunately for the Rangers, Biron was sharp the rest of the way and ended up with 18 saves on 22 shots.

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  Tags: carl+hagelin, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, corey+crawford, john+tortorella, marc+staal, martin+biron, new+york+rangers

Struggling Blackhawks Visit Blueshirts

The New York Rangers, one of the league’s hottest teams right now, will take on a struggling Chicago Blackhawks hockey club tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Blackhawks have lost nine straight games and are currently struggling in all areas of their game. They are not scoring goals like they used to, not playing tight defense and getting wildly inconsistent goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery.

On the other end, the Blueshirts come into tonight’s tilt having won four straight games. In their most recent game, which was on Tuesday night in Boston against the Boston Bruins, the team got a 42-save shutout performance from their netminder Henrik Lundqvist in a 3-0 victory.

For the Rangers, a game like tonight’s might actually be considered a “trap” game. The Rangers have won four straight, are one of the best team’s in the NHL, have played well at home and will be facing a team that is at the other end of the spectrum right now.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, corey+crawford, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, ray+emery

Curtis Sanford: A Bright Spot in Gloomy Columbus

With all the bad things going on with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, there has been one bright spot for the hockey club.

No, it is not the play of Jeff Carter, Rick Nash, Vinny Prospal, Grant Clitsome, etc. Rather, it is the play of backup netminder Curtis Sanford.

With starting netminder Steve Mason nursing a head injury, Sanford has come in and provided the Blue Jackets with something they have been missing for the past few seasons - consistent goaltending.

In five games this season, the 32-year-old journeyman netminder is 2-0-2 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .946 save percentage. Considering that this is Sanford’s first time back in the National Hockey League since the 2008-09 season, those are pretty solid numbers.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, curtis+sanford

Is the Central Division the Best in the NHL?

Over at TrueHockey.com today, I explored that topic:

When looking at the Central division, it’s possible all five teams could clinch playoff spots in the extremely competitive Western Conference.

Detroit Red Wings

Even without the likes of Brian Rafalski, Chris Osgood, Kris Draper and Mike Modano, the Detroit Red Wings could very well be the class of the Central Division once again this season.

The Red Wings still have guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall and goaltender Jimmy Howard. These players all had solid seasons last year and got the Wings to within one game of the Western Conference Finals.

This team will be the team to beat not only in the division, but possibly the entire conference.

Click here for more on the rest of the division.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings, nashville+predators, st.+louis+blues

An E-mail Interview with Columbus Blue Jackets Prospect Cameron Atkinson

It was an honor to conduct an e-mail interview with this sixth round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets back in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Cameron Atkinson was kind enough to take time out of his very busy summer training schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, what it was like to be drafted, what he wants to do with Blue Jackets and more.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
CA: I started playing hockey because of my dad, who was born and raised in Vancouver. It was innevitable that I would play at some point and when I did at age two, I did not look back.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
CA: Growing up, the New York Rangers were my favorite team but, Marty St. Louis was my favorite player because he is small and has what it takes to be an impact player and one of the best players in the NHL.

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  Tags: boston+college+eagles, cameron+atkinson, columbus+blue+jackets

No More Prospal

As our fearless leader just said in a recent post, former New York Rangers’ forward Vinny Prospal has inked a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for one year at $1.75 million.

Prospal will certainly be missed by the Blueshirts. In two season with the club, Prospal amassed 81 points in 104 games. He consistently produced, he was a leader on and off the ice, and he was someone that worked hard every shift for team head coach John Tortorella.

With that said, it was obvious that he was going to be the man out on the upcoming season’s Blueshirts hockey team. With the new signings, the money being doled out by general manager Glen Sather and the makeup of this team, Prospal unfortunately lost a spot.

Here is to a few good seasons and continued success with the new and improved Blue Jackets hockey team.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, new+york+rangers, vinny+prospal

Searching for the Real Steve Mason

Yesterday at RLD Hockey, I penned a blog about Columbus Blue Jackets’ netminder Steve Mason.

You can click here to read it or continue below:

Which Steve Mason will show up this season
By Patrick Hoffman

This is something that Columbus Blue Jackets fans are probably thinking about, considering that their franchise netminder, Steve Mason, has not been the same goaltender that won the Calder Trophy back in 2009.

There is no doubt that Mason is a young, talented and athletic netminder who has the ability to win hockey games on his own and make big saves. With that said, however, he has not done that on a consistent basis over the past two seasons.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, steve+mason

Rangers Pick Up the All-Important Two Points in San Jose

It does not matter how you get them just as long you get them.

That is what the New York Rangers were able to do last night in their 3-2 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks. It wasn’t pretty but the Blueshirts did not allow two deflection goals against to derail them en route to a victory.

At this point in the season, one point is not good enough for the Blueshirts and they showed that last night in San Jose. The team got goals from from Erik Christensen, Michael Sauer and in the shootout, got the winner from Brandon Dubinsky after Wojtek Wolski extended the shootout by scoring on Sharks’ netminder Antti Niemi in the third round of the skills competition.

The Blueshirts also got a terrific performance from their netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 31 saves in 65 minutes and then went and stopped five of six shots in the shootout to pick up his 28th victory of the season.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, columbus+blue+jackets, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, michael+sauer, montreal+canadiens, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, san+jose+sharks, toronto+maple+leafs, wojtek+wolski

Rangers Look to Bounce Back at Home Tonight

With the New York Rangers coming off a very disappointing 3-1 road loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, the team will need to get back up on the horse quickly as they have a tough game tonight at home against the struggling Washington Capitals.

What was disappointing to see was that the Rangers’ had trouble scoring goals against a struggling Steve Mason. Mason had allowed less than two goals three times this season in 17 prior appearances this season.

It was also tough that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed a particularly weak goal when Blue Jackets’ captain Rick Nash scored from below the goal-line and banked in a shot off Lundqvist’s skate and into the net. Up until that point, Lundqvist had been playing extremely well and was giving his team every chance to win a hockey game.

The Blueshirts didn’t stink in the game. They had plenty of chances to put the puck past Mason but unfortunately, were not able to finish, which is obviously important in the National Hockey League.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, steve+mason+washington+capitals

UPDATE: Del Zotto a Healthy Scratch Tonight/Big Three Games in Four Nights for the Blueshirts

UPDATE: According to Ranger beat writer Andrew Gross’s Twitter, New York Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto is a healthy scratch tonight in Ottawa and that defenseman Matt Gilroy will be inserted into the lineup:

Michael Del Zotto a healthy scratch tonight for #NYRangers, Gilroy in. Henrik Lundqvist will be in net.

The New York Rangers have a busy next couple of days coming up with three games in four nights on tap for the Blueshirts.

It begins tonight in Ottawa where the Rangers will take on a Senators’ team that beat them at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night by a score of 3-1. It was a game in which the Rangers did not come out with the intensity that is needed to win a hockey game and it ended up costing them in the end.

What was also disappointing about that game was that the Senators were coming off a 1-0 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres the night before. The Blueshirts did not take advantage of the opportunity to beat a tired team and it’s a game that they needed to pick up two points in.

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  Tags: alex+frolov, columbus+blue+jackets, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ruslan+fedotenko, washington+capitals

Offensive Explosion in second period

This is not earth shattering news for the hockey world but it might just be for New York Ranger fans: the Rangers are up 6-2 on the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring three goals in the first period and adding another four in the second period.

The team exploded for three goals in a span of 1:11 with two goals from Sean Avery and another one from Marian Gaborik, who has four points through two periods. The team has also received strong performances from Michael Del Zotto (1 goal), Matt Gilroy (1 goal), Artem Anisimov (1goal, 2 assists) Christopher Higgins and for the most part, Henrik Lundqvist.

Remember, this team was down 2-0 in the first period before exploding for 7 goals over the course of the next two periods.

There is less than five minutes to go in the second period so let’s see how the team plays the rest of the game.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, new+york+rangers

In Trouble?

If the New York Rangers lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, the team will be in trouble.

That would put the Rangers at 3-8 in their last 11 and would more than likely still keep them out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

There is one major problem here: secondary scoring!

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, new+york+rangers, rangers+reading

Close But No Cigar

In what was the team’s biggest test of the season, the New York Rangers passed with flying colors despite losing to the league’s best team, the San Jose Sharks, 3-2 last night at the HP Pavilion Center.

Despite a poorly played first period, last night had to be one of the team’s best efforts all season. They were especially good in the third period, when they controlled play and dominated the Sharks, outshooting them 17-7. Unfortunately, the Blueshirts were unable to get one by Sharks’ netminder Evgeni Nabokov, who played well after dropping his previous two decisions to the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Yes, the team lost a valuable two points last night but this was a game where the Blueshirts proved that they are not far off from being considered one of the league’s top teams this season.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, brandon+dubinsky, columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+nabokov, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, washington+capitals

A Tough Test

If there was ever a game that the New York Rangers could use as a measuring stick, tonight’s tilt with the San Jose Sharks in San Jose would be that game.

San Jose comes into tonight’s matchup sporting a 25-4-3 record, good for 53 points and the top spot in both the Western Conference and the Natioanl Hockey League. On the other side, the Bluershirts come into tonight’s game with a 22-11-2 record, 46 points and sits in second place in the Eastern Conference (at least until all the other teams catch up in games played).

In his Rangers Report Blog, Journal News Ranger beat writer Sam Weinman says that tonight’s game could be a game where the Rangers realize that they’re not that far off or they could realize that they still have a lot of work to do to become a Stanley Cup contender.

 

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  Tags: brian+boucher, columbus+blue+jackets, dan+boyle, detroit+red+wings, devin+setoguchi, evgeni+nabokov, joe+pavelski, joe+thornton, new+york+rangers, patrick+marleau, rob+blake, ryane+clowe, sam+weinman, san+jose+sharks, scotty+hockey, sny+rangers+blog, the+journal+news

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