Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Playing his best hockey — EVER! — as a Ranger, The Great Gabbo is making the homestretch look rosier for the Blueshirts every day and in every way; and that’s not a stretch either.
To avoid famine, a hockey club must feast and next on John Tortorella’s menu is a Thrasher named Atlanta to be served on Thursday in dear, old Georgia. And if Avery plays his all-rink game then, as he did on Tuesday at The Garden, the Thrasher will be sauteed and sliced….
New York’s gears have meshed so perfectly that the Sunday night loss to Ottawa seems so distant, so much an aberration, one might imagine that it happened in 1939.
Avery made forgetting Sunday possible by challenging Cal Clutterbuck in an old-fashioned first period sluggeroo. Each worthy doffed gloves and then — great stuff! — also their helmets in a who-cares-who-wins tilt that lifted The Garden a few feet off its moorings. For Gabbo it merely was the beginning of an MVP night.
more & watch the Avery/Clutterbuck battle below…
from Doug Fischer of the Ottawa Citizen,
By the time he arrived in New York last fall, however, Redden was only a shadow of that player. Everyone has a theory about why. The most popular suggests he’s never trained hard enough, relying instead on skills that eroded rapidly with age.
Whatever the reason, New Yorkers weren’t interested in anything except results. There is nothing they love more than a sports hero except, perhaps, the chance to excoriate a well-paid sports hero who is underachieving.
And that was Redden, whose Rangers play the Senators in New York tonight….
So when the team began to sputter in late November and New Yorkers went looking for a target, Redden was an easy bull’s-eye.
Led by (Larry) Brooks, said to be the most-read hockey writer in New York, the media began almost to delight in cataloguing his errors. By Feb. 15, and without a goal in 57 games, Redden was being referred to on radio and in print as GSF—Glen Sather’s Folly, Brooks’ shot at the general manager who signed him.
from Steve Zipay & Katie Strang of Newsday,
John Tortorella isn’t the only new face behind the Rangers’ bench. Assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld, who joined the coaching staff as an assistant for the rest of the season when Tortorella arrived, has been instrumental not only in helping Tortorella learn new personnel but in working with the defensemen, especially the younger ones, during the transition to a new system.
“It’s meant a lot because he’s played so many years in the NHL, he has so much experience and he’s been around the game for so long,” Dan Girardi said. “He really concentrates on the little things, the angles of your stick, the body positioning, things like that that really help you.”
Girardi’s defense partner, Marc Staal, said Schoenfeld’s vocal style has helped them adjust.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
In a few crucial ways, this year’s edition of the Montreal Canadiens remind me of last year’s edition of the New York Rangers.
Not that that’s a good thing.
First and foremost, this year’s Canadiens have 11 players – including forwards Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and defensemen Francis Bouillon and Mike Komisarek – set to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Similarly, last year’s Rangers had nine players – Sean Avery, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival and Martin Straka chief among them – in the final season of their contracts.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
When the offseason arrives, personnel decisions will be based primarily on whether players fit into Tortorella’s vision for how he wants the Rangers to think and to play. The cap is a factor, and the Rangers may lose a player they would prefer to keep, but they are unlikely to sacrifice anyone Tortorella believes can be part of the core.
The number is $41.096M for the nine players under contract next season and there will be another $6.524M committed to Qualifying Offers for five more players. Combined, that’s a total of $47.62M. This will leave the Rangers with $7-10M to sign unrestricted free agents Antropov and Paul Mara and fill in the remainder of the club.
There will be tough calls to make, and it is all but certain that the Blueshirts will attempt at least one of the big-money contracts, but the change to Tortorella has provided management with the best prism through which to make their evaluations.
more Rangers talk…
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Nik Antropov wants to stress that he is not slagging the Maple Leafs.
At the same time, the veteran forward admits noticing a difference between his former team and the New York Rangers, the squad he was shipped to at the trade deadline two weeks ago.
“The whole team is really close here,” Antropov said in a phone interview. “That’s something we never really had in Toronto the past few years.
“One of the reasons is all the new faces we had with the Leafs in the last two or three years. And then there were different coaches, different systems. That all plays a part in it.
“It’s not a shot at Toronto. I loved my time there. But I did notice the difference when I got here.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It was 4-3 here last night over the Canadiens in a shootout during which the Rangers went three-for-three against a Still Not Ready for Primetime Carey Price, and even though Montreal did get the loser’s point, the point is that the Blueshirts are playing their best hockey of the season.
“We’ve become a very aggressive team in every sense,” said Paul Mara, part of a defense corps that punished the Canadiens all night long, taking the body and with menace at every opportunity. “We’re on the attack, and we’re not shying away from anything anywhere on the ice.”
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
All you had to do is watch the Canadiens on Saturday night, losing 3-1 to the Devils to understand why the Blueshirts have a legit chance to make it two in a row.
The Habs forwards appeared to be allergic to shooting and the defense had more giveaways than The Ford Foundation. G.M./coach Bob Gainey’s embattled Czech goalie, Jaroslav Halak, appeared ready to jump on the next jet to Bratislava; except Gainey wouldn’t pay for the ticket.
Not that John Tortorella’s troops have two points in the bag already. (As a matter of fact, they don’t even have the bag. But that’s a Satchel for another Paige!)
Hey, we’re talking about a Canadiens club that’s right up there, standings-wise, with New York and the Guy Carbonneau-less Habs have shown in the past that they occasionally have had the Rangers number.
However, the Blueshirts’ numerology has dramatically changed since the teams last met.
from Mike Milbury at Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Give GM Glen Sather credit for recognizing that Plan A was not working out. And blame him for putting together Plan A, while you’re at it. The game humbles us all, including the hall of fame GM and coach with a fistful of Cup rings on his resume. And befitting the competitive son of a gun that he is, Slats went to work.
Not only did the coaching change occur, personnel moves followed rapidly. Sean Avery, who from the beginning told associates that he had made a mistake by signing with Dallas in the summer for the most cash as opposed to playing where he wanted to be, made an impact with teammates and fans akin to prodding a lazy cow.
from Tripp Mickle and Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal,
The NHL and Madison Square Garden are close to completing a settlement in their contentious, two-year-old legal battle over new media rights, a letter filed with U.S. District Court shows.
Terms of the settlement aren’t disclosed in the letter, but it does say that the settlement is expected to be completed by the end of March, at which time documentation of it will be submitted to the court and the lawsuit will be dismissed.
Sources familiar with the pending settlement say that it will see MSG cover all of the league’s legal fees, which are more than $15 million. Additionally, MSG will receive a seat on the NHL’s digital committee, NHL governors will be given the right to motion for anonymous votes on issues put before the board, and ownership groups will be able to propose a 30-day waiting period before the board votes on an issue brought forward by the NHL.
continued and thanks to SBJ for making the link available to KK readers…
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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