Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This is the night at the Garden on which to focus on the big picture of playoff implications without ever allowing your vision to stray far from Brodeur’s crease whenever Avery is on the ice.
This is the night to keep your eyes on Bobby Holik if he’s on the ice with Avery, to keep your eyes on Lundqvist’s crease if the Devils choose to respond indirectly against Public Enemy No. 1, to keep your eyes on the officials, whose handling of their professional duties will come under strict scrutiny.
This, as always, is the night to keep your eyes on Avery, who has been Mr. Mxyzptlk to Brodeur’s Superman from the moment he joined the Battle of the Hudson on Feb. 6, 2007 and turned it into his own comic strip.
Rangers coach John Tortorella seems a bit frustrated after the Rangers lost to the Penguins today. Torts also discusses the five minute interference call on Colton Orr in the 3rd period.
Watch the interference call on Orr below…
from Stan Fischler of Game
On, Sidney, oh, Sidney Crosby, what pain might ye inflict on the Rangers?
You, too, Evgeni Malkin.
Then again, perhaps the Penguins are precisely the birds the Blueshirts require on Saturday afternoon after another species — this one is the kind that flies, called Thrashers — ruined the Rangers in a 5-4 Shootout that made Phillips Arena look more like a cuckoo’s nest on Thursday night.
The Penguin is a bigger bird than a Thrasher and, perhaps, such a foe is precisely what New York needs after blowing a 4-1 lead to an Atlanta team that looked all but extinct nearly two-thirds through the game.
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.”
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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