Kukla's Korner Hockey
Like details of a photograph emerging in a darkroom developing pan, the Opening Day roster for the Rangers became clearer Wednesday.
Based on their performance in camp and preseason games, two prospects seem to have solidified positions: 21-year-old center Brandon Dubinsky, ticketed for the third line, and highly-touted defenseman Marc Staal, who at age 20 seems to have all the instincts and skating ability necessary for the NHL. If the Rangers add just Staal and Dubinsky and keep the roster at 22, not 23, they would squeeze under the $50.3-million salary cap by about $600,000.
from Lindsay Berra of ESPN the Magazine,
If relatively anonymous. Drury, carting two gallons of milk out of a bodega on Manhattan’s Upper West Side recently, had to stare at a guy he thought was on HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” (he wasn’t) before he got a “Hey, you’re the new Ranger!” in return. And Gomez spent an hour in a Starbucks near MSG on a late-summer workday afternoon, drinking his grapefruit soda in total peace. Think that’d happen to Eli Manning or Derek Jeter?
But Gomez and Drury just got into town; give them a season. Next June, the Rangers could be polishing the Stanley Cup, and NHL brass could be glowing about their improved ratings. Then the only unfinished business would be the ticker-tape parade.
from Blue Notes,
“I didn’t expect it (the fighting). It’s an exhibition game.” said Avery, who skated today with about ten other Rangers who weren’t on the flight to Detroit to face the Red Wings tonight. “But I wish I had played.”
“For a very obvious reason, as obvious as reasons can get,” he said.
Asked about his status for Friday’s game in the Garden, Avery said, “Oh yeah, I’ll be ready.”
more on the Rangers…
from Scott Morrison of CBC Sports,
Where is the common sense?
Simon shouldn’t have been anywhere near the ice against the Rangers for all the obvious reasons. And especially since the Rangers decided to dress Ryan Hollweg, the player Simon chopped down his with his stick back on March 8 to earn the supreme wrath of the league.
Can you say retribution?
But there they were together on the ice Monday night in Long Island and the mayhem was, well, as predictable and it was entirely avoidable. Hollweg and Simon sparred and jabbed with each other.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
To Rick DiPietro, it was simply a matter of “the intensity being ratcheted up against the Rangers, no matter where or when we play them.”
To Al Montoya, it was simply a matter of, “basically not really having a choice, but sticking up for my teammates even though I’d rather have been in the [game] to showcase my talents.”
Check out the goalie fight…
from the Rangers Report,
“We’re trying to help him,” Renney said. “I don’t see Kaspar playing hockey for us, and we’ll do everything we can to help him play somewhere else. And if not, he’ll go to Hartford, and in the kind of condition he’s in, and the mental approach he’s taken, you never know.”
I asked Renney if he still thought Kasparaitis could play at the NHL level, and the coach said he believed he could. Bear in mind it’s in the Rangers’ best interest to have another team pick him up off waivers, so it wouldn’t make sense for the coach to elaborate on all of Kasparaitis’ deficiencies. But the answer merits passing on.
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
As you know, Rangers GM Glen Sather turned a heck of an offseason double play, landing top pivots Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. When any team can add two talented centers with championship pedigree, I have to think they’ll be better—maybe, a lot better….
The Rangers certainly figure to better their 94-point total of last season. The expectations will be skyscraper high, though. If they don’t fall victim to the hype, they could make it a longer spring for hockey fans in New York.
from the NY Post,
It’s way too early, but it has already started. Even Tom Renney jumped in, breaking them up briefly. In their first exhibition game together, Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr did nothing to dismiss the idea that one puck isn’t enough for the two of them….
Meshing players whose game depends first on skill is always more difficult than throwing together a line of diggers, grinders and hard-drivers, and Jagr and Gomez are still looking for an intuitive understanding even in practice. Those who play with Gomez must learn that the puck is coming when they least expect it.
from The Journal,
Wearing the practice version of the new style of jerseys they debuted last night at the Garden, each reacted as if they were looking at a different person.
“If people had heard I didn’t wear shoulder pads beforehand, now they know I don’t,” said a slightly less-imposing Brendan Shanahan, who for the record, wears slight pads on his shoulders.
“Man, I look tiny,” Sean Avery said.
Only Darius Kasparaitis, newly chiseled after shedding 20 pounds over the summer, seemed impressed.
“I look sexy,” he said.
from the Journal News,
...But if there is a reason the 6-foot-4 Strudwick finds himself on the team’s opening-night roster, it is because they do not have another player who so easily unites a dressing room.
It is an odd notion to think a player can crack a roster at the highest level of professional sports on the strength of his personality. But that may be the case with Strudwick, a tough, versatile player who others say has an inherent knack for bringing a team together.
“He knows how important it is to cross all boundaries, whether they’re geographic or ethnic or whatever,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “For Jason, it’s just so natural, and because of that people trust his judgment and they like him a lot. They feel regardless of what his participation might be on the ice, he serves a huge advantage everywhere else.”
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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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