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A Deserved Point by the Blueshirts

While the New York Rangers did lose 4-3 in a shootout last night at Madison Square Garden to the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was a game in which the Blueshirts worked hard, brought a lot of energy and had plenty of chances to win the hockey game.

This is a loss that the Blueshirts should be able to deal with. They battled back to tie the game with less than nine minutes to go in the game when Derek Stepan scored a great goal, they generated plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the game and for the most part, played solid defensively.

With that said, however, it was two giveaways that cost the Rangers’ on two goals. In the first period, the Blueshirts’ Michal Rozsival coughed up the puck to Lightning superstar Martin St. Louis and St. Louis beat Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. After the Rangers went up 2-1 on goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Alex Frolov, St. Louis victimized the Rangers’ again on a turnover and the Rangers’ once again gave away the puck to St. Louis who this time made a between the legs pass to sniper Steven Stamkos and Stamkos buried it to tie the game up at 2-2.

One of the stories of this game was the play of Rangers’ rookie Mats Zuccarello Aasen. Zuccarello played a solid game, brought a lot of creativity to the offense and looked good playing with Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky. Even Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella had positive things to say about the Rangers’ youngster.

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  Tags: alex+frolov, derek+stepan, glen+sather, henrik+lundqvist, jim+schoenfeld, john+tortorella, martin+st.+louis, mats+zuccarello+aase, michal+rozsival, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Talking With the Ranger Coaches

From Jim Cerny at Rink Rap:

- Of a possible training camp holdout by restricted free agent center Brandon Dubinsky, Torts said, “This happens, and I’m not sure where this is going to go…it’s not like we hold grudges….it’s not going to affect our camp. We are going to go about our business as a team as we’re supposed to.”

- Tortorella explained that he has spoken twice already with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist about limiting the number of games he starts this season. And Torts emphasized that this decision was not based solely on the fact that Henrik will also be taking part in the Olympics, tending goal for Sweden come February. “Even if it was not an Olympic year, I think we need to manage (his minutes) better. I’m not sure if Hank likes that….” Torts also said, “You look at some of the goalies that ended up in the Top Four in the playoffs and look at how many games they played…Hank will not play the amount of games he played last year. How many he does play, I don’t know….He loves to compete and I love him for that. But we need to manage that better.”

- The Rangers bench boss also discussed how he reached out to team captain Chris Drury several times this summer in an attempt to forge a stronger bond between the two. He said that Drury was receptive, and that he believes they are on the right track. “I wanted to get to know him. I wanted him to get to know me because he is the captain of this hockey club. I think he is beginning to feel more comfortable with me, and I feel more comfortable with him.” Tortorella also mentioned that he spoke to 3 or 4 other players this summer on a regular basis, though he refused to divulge any names.

Click here for more on Tortorella. Our good friend also spoke with Jim Schoenfeld:

When Tortorella assumed the Rangers’ head coaching duties last February, Schoenfeld joined him on the ice for practices and on the bench during games, while continuing in his front-office role. Both men believed at the time that Schoenfeld would relinquish his assistant coaching duties once the 2008-09 season was over.

However, after bringing Sullivan, his long-time assistant in Tampa Bay, into the Rangers’ fold this summer, Tortorella said he talked to Schoenfeld about the possibility of continuing in his dual role as both a team executive, working with President and General Manager Glen Sather, and assistant coach.

“I first wanted to make sure it was OK with Glen and Jimmy,” said Tortorella. “I thought (Schoenfeld) did such a great job last year in some of his individual teaching and his relationships with the players.”

Schoenfeld agreed to serve as an assistant coach this year as long as that would not interfere with his managerial duties. As such, Sather signed off on a plan that will see Schoenfeld fulfill all the duties of an assistant coach, but he will not be behind the bench with Tortorella and Sullivan during games.

Click here for more on Schoeny.

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  Tags: jim+schoenfeld, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers

Two Out Of Four Ain’t Bad

Going into this weekend, all the New York Rangers were focused on was their game. They weren’t focused on who was in front of them, behind them or looking a few games down the road. The team was focused on the here and now.

Their intense focus certainly showed last night at the Garden as the team beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Tonight’s game, against the Ottawa Senators, on the other hand, ended in a 2-1 loss, which means that the team remains in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

While four points would have been great, the team should be satisfied with their play this weekend. They put pucks to the net, used their speed well, did a great job killing penalties (now first in the league) and were competitive in both games. Some other notes from the weekend:

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, eastern+conference, jim+schoenfeld, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, wade+redden

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