Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
After the Rangers celebrated their 3-2 victory, which gave them a 10-2-1 start, Zherdev shared few feelings. In his fifth N.H.L. season, Zherdev still speaks only a smattering of English. Still, he tried to get across what the move from Columbus to New York had done for him.
“I am very comfortable,” Zherdev said. “It is better here than Columbus. I am very comfortable.
“New team, new system, every game I try better and better.”
From all accounts, Zherdev has embraced the fresh start. He has scored five goals and possesses an electric quality on the ice. He has certainly enjoyed the club’s hot start, in contrast to the mediocrity of Columbus, which has never made the playoffs. And there, he had all the expectations that came with his high draft spot.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Zherdev is older now than Kovalev was then. Wiser, too, one hopes, after four seasons of futility in Columbus. His plus/minus is a league- best +9, which says a little about his attention to detail in his own zone.
There’s another plus: He’s got teammates now who prefer to lead by example. Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan, who made his departure official Wednesday, were too far beyond their prime to be that kind of leader. Shanahan always knew the right thing to say, and Jagr played class clown well to Shanahan’s class president, but neither had the skills left to be the good example for a player like Zherdev.
from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Colums at CBC,
This season’s early success seems to justify the eight-year rebuilding process that general manager Glen Sather has endured.
At times it was painful, and after the first four years without playoffs, Sather’s team is now looking for its fourth straight playoff run.
For years the Rangers had hung on to veteran players and brought in big-name personalities that at times had more ego than they had game. Breaking the ties with Ranger heroes like Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Brian Leetch were difficult moves given their years of quality service and Stanley Cup history, but were necessary in order to move on and turn the page as a franchise.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Dubinsky is tied with Scott Gomez for the team lead in scoring with 11 points (4-7). When on his game, he plays with a chip on his shoulder the size of his native Alaska. He is a team guy and a leadership guy.
He also is on the final year of his Entry Level contract, and is the class of the prospective Group II Class of ‘09, all due respect to Paul Stastny and Jordan Staal.
With an anticipated 10 percent increase in average, a team making a Group II offer sheet of $5.7M would only owe compensation of a first-, a second- and a third-round draft pick for Dubinsky if the Rangers refused to match.
from Steve Zipay of Newsday,
The numbers are worthy of royalty: a league-leading seven wins, fourth in the NHL in goals-against-average, just .007 from third place in save percentage, and perfect in denying three shootout attempts.
He did all this while playing the most minutes of any goaltender in the league so far.
Crown Henrik Lundqvist the early season team MVP.
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
...Meanwhile, Scott Gomez continues to fly, Lundqvist wins every Shootout and Fred Sjostrom keeps popping in Shootout goals. You have to wonder how the Rangers can possibly lose tonight.
I’ll tell you how: 1. Get cocky and believe the game is in the bag before it IS in the satchel 2; Find a hot goalie between the Islanders pipes; 3. Play less inspired than the undermanned home club.
more on the Rangers…
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner suffered an undisclosed injury and the Flyers defeated the Devils 5-3 tonight at Prudential Center.
Langenbrunner headed to the Devils’ locker room with the trainer after taking a hard hit from Flyers defenseman Luca Sbisa along the right wing boards in the Philadelphia zone 7:55 into the second period. It appeared Langenbrunner had a left leg injury, but it was difficult to tell.
more on the game…
via Steve Zipay of Blue Notes,
With 11:38 left in the second period, Rangers coach Tom Renney was clipped on the left side of the head by Rostislav Klesla’s stick during a scrum at the bench.
He went down to the floor, an official said between the second and third period, may have lost consciousness, was assisted off the ice and was being X-rayed. Assistants Mike Pelino and Perry Pearn took over. Renney did not return before the end of the period.
A Rangers spokesman said during the intermission that Renney “was OK. He was hit on the top of the head.”
added 10:11pm, from Norm Sanders of the New-Democrat,
St. Louis Blues goaltender Manny Legace suffered what the team called a lower-body injury Friday and did not return for the second period against the Los Angeles Kings.
Legace may have been injured when he slipped on a piece of carpeting coming out for pregame warmups. The carpet was on the ice for a pregame ceremony involving Republic vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin.
a little more...
from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,
Tonight Zherdev returns to Columbus, the scene of his first four NHL years of underachievement, with two goals and three assists in his first nine games as a Ranger.
“To me, he’s a 40-plus goal scorer,” Blue Jackets Coach Ken Hitchcock said about the 2003 fourth-overall pick. “When I took over in November , he was moody and very unhappy but he made big changes.”...
“He’s a good guy, really coachable,” said Renney. “His dangle instincts are a little different than a North American guy and I don’t want to take that away from him. He’s a great passer….
Asked about his game and expectations of a breakout, the English-shy Zherdev smiled and said: “Next level.”
from Mark Hale of the NY Post,
He’s also at minus-five through nine games. That’s the worst mark on the Rangers.
Heading into tomorrow’s game in Columbus, the 32-year-old captain is very much struggling. Drury’s managed a not-so-grand total of one point this year, thanks to paltry stats of no goals and one assist
“I’m getting there. Nothing’s really clicking too good right now,” Drury said after practice on Tuesday. “But obviously importantly our record is pretty darn good and that’s what this is all about.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com:
Must admit, I felt kind of “dirty” watching the Dallas Stars beat the New York Rangers Monday night. Why? Well, I was glued to the game for one reason and one reason only—Sean Avery
You never know what is going to happen during a game Avery participates in, especially coming back to NYC to take on his former team. The back of my brain was thinking “train wreck,” my heart was saying “get the game over before the wreck occurs.”
continued with notes on various topics today
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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