Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK, January 18, 2015 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Marc Staal on a contract extension.
“Marc has been one of the cornerstones of our team since he arrived in New York,” Sather said. “His commitment and perseverance to the Rangers, and the game of hockey, has been an inspiration for everyone in the organization, and he has become a role model for young players and veterans alike. We are excited that he will continue to provide that leadership in a Rangers uniform.”
from Steve Zipay of Newsday,
For those wondering if president and general manager Glen Sather is overpaying for defenseman Marc Staal, consider this: Here's some of the free-agent blueliners expected to be available this summer: Paul Martin, Andrej Sekera, Cody Franson, Johnny Boychuk and Mike Green. Not exactly the Fab Five. Would you really replace Staal with any of them?
Staal, who turned 28 on Jan. 13, has played just 502 games, given concussions and a serious eye injury. Next season is the last on Dan Boyle's two-year contract, and perhaps Kevin Klein moves into the top four. So the opening down the road would be for a third pair d-man, who will be less expensive.
A potential side benefit of Staal signing long-term? Perhaps it could eventually help lure brother Eric from Carolina, the big center that the Rangers need to compete against top clubs. Salary would be an issue, though: $8.2 million next season, then free agency before the 2016-17 season. That might be when the Rangers can afford him.
more hockey notes...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The deal is not yet done, but the Rangers and Marc Staal are making progress toward a contract extension that would keep the alternate captain in New York for the next six years, The Post has learned.
A well-placed source said there had been “a productive meeting” here on Wednesday between assistant general manager Jeff Gorton and Staal’s representative, Paul Krepelka.
It is believed the sides are discussing a six-year deal between $5.6 and $5.9 million per season for the 28-year-old defenseman, who is in his eighth season as a Ranger after having been selected 14th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft.
Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Lee Stempniak and Matt Hunwick currently are pending unrestricted free agents while Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Jesper Fast and John Moore are pending restricted free agents.
via Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
“You go shoulder-to-shoulder, but he brings his leg in the back and I felt I had a slew-foot there,” Brassard said. “I don’t want to [look for] any excuses, and I don’t want to be a crybaby or anything, but it could have been dangerous with the way I went down, caught my leg and hit my knee on the ice. I could have been injured for the rest of the season.
“Marchand is a good player, he’s feisty and competes hard,” No. 16 said. “But those kinds of things we don’t need in our game.”
No penalty on the play...
via Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
The Rangers have already seen life without Derek Stepan, and it ain’t pretty.
They might have to deal with it yet again, as the top-line center left Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to the Islanders at the Garden with what coach Alain Vigneault called an “upper-body injury.” Stepan had received an unpenalized slash on the hand from Islanders forward Matt Martin in the first period, but Vigneault said the extent of the injury won’t be known until Wednesday.
Stepan played just three shifts after the first period, the final when he turned the puck over on a second-period power play that resulted in Frans Nielsen’s shorthanded goal. He was not on the bench for the third.
from Neil Best of Newsday,
It's hockey season, New York!
"I am pretty excited about it," MSG analyst and former Islander Butch Goring said of the Islanders-Rangers game, which will feature two of the best teams in the sport so far this season. "It's been a long time since the game had some meaning. We always talk about the rivalry, but the standings dictate it wasn't nearly as important for so many years now."...
There is no more objective measure of sports interest than TV ratings, and they tell a stark story. Through 36 games on MSG, the Rangers are averaging 1.54 percent of area homes -- up 27 percent from this point last season -- and the Knicks are averaging 1.71, down 24 percent....
The Islanders are averaging 0.53 percent of area homes, up 26 percent from this point in 2013-14.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
How big can a hockey game be in January?
Big enough that Rangers coach Alain Vigneault already had a name for it, just a day before his team was to play host to the first-place Islanders at the Garden on Tuesday night.
“It’s going to be a New York classic,” Vigneault said after Monday’s practice. “It should be a lot of fun for both teams. They’re the best in our division, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The next time Rick Nash tells you this is the way he played last year, nod politely, move on to another subject and thank him for his time.
Because Nash, as self-effacing as he has been dominant through the season’s first 40 games, not only didn’t play this way last season, few forwards in the NHL reached the consistent level of excellence the winger has displayed on a night-in, night-out basis … last year or any year.
The 30-year-old is the NHL’s best player, a breathtaking blend of speed, power and creativity who has been worth every dime of his $7.8 million cap charge. He and Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne are the front-runners for the Hart Trophy.
Hands please, if you’d vote for sending Nash to the Blue Jackets for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, a first-rounder and the equivalent of Tim Erixon.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Dan Boyle picked a good time to return to San Jose, considering he’d like to stick it to some of his former teammates.
The 38-year-old defenseman will be playing as a visitor at SAP Center for the first time since Jan. 16, 2006, and not only is he playing his best hockey of the season after a pair of health issues, but the Rangers are the NHL’s hottest team, with 12 wins in their last 13 games.
“There’s a lot of guys that talk smack for six years, and it will be fun to be on the other side of it,” Boyle said with a smile on Saturday morning. “You want to make sure you get the win, because there are a lot of guys that have big mouths and they are going to rub it in your face for a little while. We won’t get that chance to settle the score again for another year.”
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Traditionally, the teams that have lost the Stanley Cup final have often struggled in their next campaign, which is understandable given the grind and letdown of coming so close the prior summer.
But the New York Rangers have won 11 of their past 12 games, including Wednesday night in Anaheim against an NHL-leading Ducks squad. It’s almost miraculous for a team that has already withstood injuries to top players such as Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Dan Boyle. The recent hot streak is the team’s best since 1993-94 – a year of note, as any Rangers fan will tell you – and it has catapulted the Blueshirts into the Eastern Conference’s top wild card slot. Given that New York has two games in hand on Washington, but trails the Capitals by only a point, things look even sunnier.
So how are they doing it? Really, the Rangers are just playing solid all-around hockey. New York ranks third in offense, seventh in goals-against, while special teams are just a smidge outside the top-10 each.
from Steve Zipay of Newsday,
A restricted free agent, Zuccarello, who had 19 goals and 40 assists in 77 games last season and went 5-8-13 in the playoffs, was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing July 25. But he and the club agreed to a one-year, $3.5-million contract, which makes him an unrestricted free agent this summer.
After Jan. 1, one-year players can sign extensions, but the Rangers are juggling cap space, both currently and long-term. And their pending free agents include six top players: Marc Staal and Martin St. Louis are unrestricted, and Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast are restricted....
His line, with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, is "playing against a first line almost every game, so I also take pride in my defensive play," Zuccarello said. "I just try to go out and work hard every night, that's the mindset I have. It wouldn't change if I had a longer deal."
But a multiyear deal is clearly Zuccarello's desire. "I would like them to have faith in me for longer years," he said. "I've had one-year deals for a long time now, so it'd be nice to get some stability."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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