Kukla's Korner Hockey
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."
It’s Christmastime and New York’s best pro sports team is beginning to hum. The drummers are drumming, the flutists are fluting, the singers are singing, Henrik Lundqvist is ruling and there are signs up around the rink warning folks not to tug on Rick Nash’s cape.
Seven straight victories for the Rangers into Saturday night’s re-opener at the Garden against the floundering Devils, one short of matching the franchise’s longest winning streak since just this time 40 years ago.
There are 50 games and a trade deadline to go, an entire season, really, and a playoff berth is hardly assured. But Vigneault, Lundqvist and the Rangers are moving into lockdown mode, sending signals that last season’s run to the Stanley Cup final was no fluke.
-Larry Brooks of the New York Post where you can read more on the New York Rangers...
I am still on a mini-break but home after two days of being with family and friends. I may post more today but if not, I will return tomorrow morning.
By Michael Ray,
Rick Nash had a two-goal night on Tuesday, extending the New York Rangers' winning streak to four games in a row.
Nash's goals were his 19th and 20th in the season; they helped the Rangers beat the Calgary Flames 5-2. He's also tied with Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) for the longest current-season point streak in the NHL, with his eight goals and six assists giving him an 11-game point streak. It's the best in his career.
NEW YORK, December 19, 2014 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Cam Talbot on a contract extension.
Talbot, 27, has appeared in seven games with the Rangers this season, posting a 2-3-1 record, along with a 2.34 GAA, a .921 SV%, and two shutouts. He is tied for ninth in the NHL in shutouts in 2014-15, and he is the only NHL goaltender with six or fewer starts to post two shutouts this season. Talbot recorded shutouts in back-to-back starts on November 19 vs. Philadelphia and November 28 at Philadelphia, and he has posted the fourth-longest shutout streak in the NHL this season (159:48 from November 8 at Toronto to December 6 at Detroit).
from Steve Silverman of CBSNewYork,
Whether it was a summer-time message from head coach Alain Vigneault or a good, long look in the mirror, Nash is not the player he was in his previous two seasons with the Rangers.
Instead, he is much better. There’s a legitimate aggression to his game and he is dominating the box score on a near-nightly basis. He has scored 20 goals already and leads the Rangers with 33 points. He has a plus-13 that leads the team, and he is playing with a drive and an aggression that Rangers fans had heard about when the team first acquired him, but one that had not been seen before this season.
Teammate Derek Stepan said that Nash played just this way last year, but he was victimized by bad luck and that’s why he didn’t put the puck in the net.
Vigneault wasn’t having any of it. After Nash scored two goals last night against the Flames to pave the way for the Blueshirts in a 5-2 victory, he put it succinctly.
“We need him to play the way he is,” Vigneault said. “We’re no different than any other team in the league. You need your top players to be your top performers, and that’s what Rick is doing for us right now.”
The good, calming news for all three of our Met Area clubs is that parity in the NHL is real and, as the Islanders already proved last month; a winning streak can propel any one of the trio right back into the playoff hunt.
Advice to Rangers, Islanders and Devils fans: Relax; the race is a marathon, not a sprint!
-Stan Fischler at the Daily Freeman where you can read more on the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.
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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