Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The Rangers’ sturdy back end was a huge component in their playoff success last spring, when they made a run to the Stanley Cup finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Anton Stralman signed with Tampa Bay in free agency, but Leetch would like to see much of that defensive corps remain intact.
Priority No. 1, of course, is signing Staal to a new extension (his agent, Paul Krepelka, told ESPN.com via email that “all quiet on that front right now”). Though Staal has been hampered by a string of serious injuries in recent years, he returned to form with a strong performance in the 2014 playoffs.
“I think it’s really important to have that group of guys back there. I add Girardi in the mix as well, just the stability and familiarity, and the personalities. They're very good teammates in locker room, good people, and they have that continuity, plus the ability to perform on the ice in front of Henrik Lundqvist,” Leetch said.
“My fingers are always crossed that Marc can stay healthy because he’s on the verge of getting to that next level. Obviously, that’s my hope for him and I think he’s an elite player with the ability to be a top D in the league if he can continue to play and get those reps.”
more including comments from Leetch on working for the NHL disciplinary department...
from Brian Costello of The Hockey News,
So how good is this Kevin Hayes?
Hayes was drafted in the first round, 24th overall by Chicago, in 2010. If that draft were to be re-held today, Hayes probably wouldn’t go in the first round. More than likely, he’d be a second round pick. At least 25 players from the 2010 have established themselves as NHL regulars and, according to our Future Watch scouting committee, at least 15 other players drafted in 2010 rank as better prospects than Hayes.
But that doesn’t mean Hayes can’t play catch-up with those other 2010 draftees in the seasons to come. He does have compelling credentials. After three middling seasons at Boston College, in which the budding power forward scored just 17 goals and 67 points in 102 games, he blossomed as a senior. Playing on a line with Hobey Baker Award winner Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold – both draft picks of the Calgary Flames, one of many teams vying for his services once he became a free agent – Hayes used his size and playmaking ability to an impressive 27 goals and 65 points in 40 games.
added 12:35pm, New York Rangers release is below...
from David Seideman at Forbes,
Over the weekend at the White Plains County Center, Kenny Palma, a dealer and collector, set up in his usual space in the corner of the East Coast National sports collectors show, as he has pretty much since he entered the sports memorabilia business just four years ago. Baseball bats, cleats, and catcher’s equipment were piled high on a dozen tables. A huge assortment of sports jerseys hung on a clothing rack like the those they wheel around in Manhattan’s garment district 25 miles south.
One jersey was missing from the rack because Palma had recently sold it in a big auction. It was an autographed Mark Messier hockey uniform shirt from the New York Rangers’ only Stanley Cup championship, in 1995, over the past 73 years.
Palma paid about $300 for it as part of a bigger collection he bought from a collector. “I didn’t like the way it was framed, so I took it out and brought it to the shows and hung it with the rest of my jerseys,” he says. Over the course of half dozen shows during a six-month span dozens of dealers and thousands of collectors, including me, walked past it. “I was asking $1000, but people offered me from $300 to $400,” Palma says.
from Risto Pakarinen at ESPN,
You will hear New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist before you see him.
Or, rather, you will hear the roar of his black Maserati as it winds through the streets of this west coast city.
As a father of a 2-year-old daughter, he also has other cars, but there are no baby seats in the Maserati, so when he's driving solo, it's the Maserati with the matte finish that rolls out of the garage.
After the longest season in his career, Lundqvist took time off to recharge his batteries, but in the first week of August he was back on the ice, skating with local players in the Frolunda Indians practice facility, Frolundaborg, on the south side of town.
He arrives in the Maserati, stops at the parking lot meter, feeds it with a few kronor, grabs his ticket and parks his car around the corner, closer to the entrance. His famous hair is tucked under a baseball cap adorned with his own logo that combines his No. 30 with a crown.
from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,
How will the Rangers supplement the forward depth they lost? -- In his first year as Rangers coach, Alain Vigneault rolled all four lines and got consistent scoring from the top three units. He'll be challenged to do that again this season.
New York got key plays from Richards and Pouliot, who signed a five-year, $20 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. A fourth line considered among the NHL's best was also dismantled when Brian Boyle signed with the Lightning and Dorsett was traded.
The Rangers hope free-agent additions Lee Stempniak, Tanner Glass, Chris Mueller and Matthew Lombardi, and some of their young talent, can help maintain that forward depth.
Can Rick Nash return to elite form? -- New York's success drew attention away from a disappointing season for its highest-paid skater.
Nash led the Rangers in goals last season, but 26 goals and 39 points in 65 games aren't necessarily numbers befitting a star player responsible for a $7.8-million cap charge in each of the next four seasons. Nash's production dropped precipitously during the postseason, when he scored three goals in 25 games.
With St. Louis and Stepan potentially serving as linemates, Nash will be expected to recapture the form that saw him score 38 or more goals three times with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
It was a given that the Rangers would buy out Brad Richards upon the conclusion of their Cup run. They needed to apply the 34-year-old’s annual cap hit toward their restricted free agents: Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and John Moore.
They did just that by saying goodbye to Richards, reclaiming the center’s money, and sending it right back out the door to Brassard (five years, $25 million), Zuccarello (one year, $3.5 million), and Kreider (two years, $4.95 million). They will re-sign Moore before the start of camp.
The rearranging of money ($6,666,667 in from Richards, $5.825 million for 2014-15 out to the three RFAs, with the difference earmarked for Moore) may be a wash. But it doesn’t mean the Rangers will be as good as they were last year. They’ll probably be worse.
The Rangers will always be competitive with HenrikLundqvist in goal. Ryan McDonagh will be a Norris Trophy finalist some day. Rick Nash is a puck-hungry behemoth. These are star players.
But what made the Rangers the best team in the East was their depth.
more plus other hockey topics...
The arbitration meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 28th.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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