Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Zach Braziller of the New York Post,
Antti Raanta, the Rangers’ new backup goaltender, expects Wednesday night in Chicago to be fun — fun because of the atmosphere as the Blackhawks celebrate their Stanley Cup title, but not because of the reception he will receive.
The former Blackhawk knows he may be Public Enemy No. 1 among fans at the United Center, after his remarks over the summer that he hoped “[Nashville] would beat us in four [games in the first round of the playoffs] so I could get back to Finland sooner.”
“Hopefully, I have a couple of friends there left,” Raanta said with a smirk. “I understand the fans, that whole situation, what happened in summertime. What I said, it was a little bit misunderstood from every point of view.”
The 26-year-old Finnish goalie, who will replace traded former backup Cam Talbot behind Henrik Lundqvist, was upset at the time of the comments about being the Blackhawks’ third goalie, instead of No. 2, meaning barring an emergency, his season was all but over. And it was, as Raanta didn’t appear in any postseason games....
Raanta admitted he was caught off guard when a friend told him his name was not on the Stanley Cup, along with the other 27 Blackhawks. Chicago petitioned the NHL to have the names of retired player Daniel Carcillo and seldom-used defenseman Jaom Nordstrom on the Cup, but not Raanta’s name.
But he isn’t concerned about it, either. He did get his day with the Stanley Cup.
“What can you do for that?” Raanta said. “I tried to put those things in the past. If my name isn’t there, then it’s not there. You can’t do nothing about that anymore.”
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Do you think the New York Rangers will re-sign Keith Yandle? If so, what does the new contract look like?
I'm 50-50 on this. A lot will depend on how the Rangers play this season, where they stand at the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, the maturation of Brady Skjei, and the cap. The Rangers should be a contender, so they should be in buying mode come the deadline, so it stands to reason Yandle would be safe if he is still unsigned at that point. The maturation of Skjei matters more than anything here because he's a left-handed defenseman, like Yandle, and he would be a lot cheaper to have on the roster in Yandle's spot than Yandle would be....
Who stands out more for the Buffalo Sabres this year, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane or Jack Eichel?
They'll all stand out, but Eichel will make the biggest splash because he'll have the spotlight on him more than the other two guys and I'm fairly certain after seeing some of his preseason and reading all about him, quotes from everyone around the Sabres and media members who have seen them play, that he will be the real deal. I expect O'Reilly and Kane to have big impacts on the ice as well, but all eyes will be on Eichel and he will stand out. It will help him that the Sabres should have O'Reilly and Kane on the top line with Tyler Ennis, which means they will face the top defense pairs whereas Eichel, who could play with Matt Moulson and Zemgus Girgensons to start, will have it slightly easier.
more on the Yandle topic plus additional Q & A...
from Howie Kussoy of the New York Post,
Signed by the Predators to a four-year, $12 million contract after winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013, Stalberg spent nearly as much of his second season with the Predators organization in the AHL (in Milwaukee) as the NHL, struggling with injuries and suffering through healthy scratches, seemingly unable to recapture the form of the 22-goal scorer from the 2011-12 season.
This offseason, Stalberg signed a one-year deal with the Rangers for $1.1 million, and saw the expectations he took to Tennessee stay there. For Alain Vigneault, the most disappointing season of Stalberg’s career may end up being the best thing to happen to his team.
Calling Stalberg one of the team’s most impressive players in training camp, the Rangers coach has been extremely pleased with the wing’s play in each of the five preseason games, saving particular praise for his determination.
“As a coach sometimes, and as an organization, you catch players at the right time,” Vigneault said following Tuesday’s practice. “And him, with what happened last year in Nashville, I’m catching him at a time where if he’s not hungry and he doesn’t play well, he’s not going to be very long in this league, so I think he knows that. He understands that and he’s come here to play.
“The player that I remember from Chicago is what I’m seeing now. For me, it’s not a surprise from that standpoint, but I figure he wasn’t playing the way he is now in Nashville, otherwise they would have kept him.”
If you are going to call this a penalty shot, then it has to remain consistent through the season.
At time I have seen an on-ice official try to pick up the stick and would probably like to see it happen more often.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
It’s an enviable situation for any team, and the Rangers know that.
In most training camps around the NHL, there is a role of “depth defenseman” being fought for by a handful of veterans hanging on or young players trying to make an impression. And in most camps, that winner likely will receive a role on the third pair — in the starting lineup.
For the Blueshirts, the battle for depth defenseman is for the man who gets the honor to be a healthy scratch. That’s because the top six, the men who start, are arguably the best group of six in the league.
“You look at our lineup, and there’s no weaknesses there,” Marc Staal told The Post after Saturday night’s 4-3 win over the Devils at Prudential Center. “We’re a very talented group and a lot of different guys bring a lot of different aspects. We compliment each other pretty well.”
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
There used to be a guy named Rick Nash who came to the Rangers with huge expectations, and who was shy, soft-spoken and gave canned answers.
At some point last spring, that Rick Nash was officially put out to pasture, and the man who took over is still a bit shy, but far more open with his emotions, with his self-criticism and utterly transparent about what he’s trying to accomplish.
“It’s the way sports works, you have to be honest with yourself, be honest with the media and with your fans,” Nash told The Post after practice on Friday as the team prepares for a preseason game against the Devils in Newark on Saturday. “I think that’s all you can do and everything else kind of takes care of itself.”
The “everything else” that Nash referred to is, in part, getting the Rangers over the hump and winning their first Stanley Cup since 1994. For the 31-year-old Nash, his 12 seasons in the league have produced an ample amount of individual accolades, and now his face pressed up against that shiny silver chalice is all he cares about.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Tanner Glass stood up for his Rangers teammates on Thursday the way he always does, stepping in when the Bruins’ Zac Rinaldo got a little goofy in the third period against Brian Gibbons, Brady Skjei and Tommy Hughes.
But that doesn’t change the math that the veteran winger must overcome in order to start the season on the Rangers roster.
“Obviously he played on our team last year, but there are 15 or 16 [forwards] I’ve really liked so far and we’re only going to keep 13,” coach Alain Vigneault said before the Blueshirts’ 4-3 shootout loss. “We all know the skill set he brings, but do skill and speed trump that moving forward?
“We’ve got four [now three] games to play to answer that.”
Glass, who will turn 33 at the end of November, plays a hard-edged, physical game and is extremely popular in the room. In a league in which the role of an enforcer has steadily diminished, Glass is the lone Ranger capable of filling that job description, last year accumulating nine of the club’s 20 fighting majors.
from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News,
"I had a tough year," said Stoll, known also in the entertainment industry as the boyfriend of broadcaster Erin Andrews. "I want to have the confidence to make plays and contribute offensively. That's what wasn't there last year, I think. That's what I'm trying to get back."
So Stoll, who helped the Kings beat the Blueshirts in the 2014 Cup Final, has to prove he can provide offense while adjusting to Alain Vigneault's preferred high tempo and a system that differs somewhat from LA's.
"The (Rangers) play a quicker style, so it's about getting in on the forecheck quicker, harder, faster, and they like the north-south game," he said. "The forwards are asked to get right up on the 'D'. (In Los Angeles), we'd bring five (skaters) all the way back. We moved everywhere in fives. Here there are a lot of stretch plays. But a lot is similar, too."
Vigneault has high regard for Stoll's championship pedigree. "That experience, those two Cups, that's a big thing," the coach said Tuesday. So the Canadian center is a clear favorite to make the team if he's skating well, only that would create a logjam down the middle.
from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
Vigneault met with the media for about 17 minutes this afternoon to discuss the coming season, the offseason and last season.
Vigneault, serving up a softball to the media, made it very easy for the headline writers when he spoke about re-watching the Tom Hanks’ movie Apollo 13 this summer and that two phrases really struck him.
One was: “Failure is not an option,” which is how Vigneault said he views this season, though he also thought the same thing headed into last season.
“I believe this team has the elements to win the Stanley Cup,” Vigneault said. “I firmly believe that.”
The other phrase that stood out was when the Apollo 13 mission, which did not land on the moon as planned because of a nearly-fatal accident, was deemed a “successful failure” because the three astronauts managed to return to Earth safely.
That’s how Vigneault categorizes last season, when the Rangers did not make a return trip to the Stanley Cup final, losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Lightning.
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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