Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Carolina Hurricanes saluted Eric Staal with this video tribute.
I’ve been around the organization long enough to know that it’s in good hands. It’s led by smart people and has a lot of young talent that I think will bring a new wave of success.
As we go our separate ways, I want to express nothing but gratitude to the Carolina Hurricanes for everything they’ve done for me. From the fans to the players to people working in the meal room, thank you so much.
I may play for New York now, but Carolina is always going to feel like home.
-Eric Staal of the New York Rangers who play in Carolina on Thursday. More from Staal at The Players' Tribune.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
It is folly to attempt to forecast the Rangers’ 2016-17 roster and therefore the amount of cap space with which GM Jeff Gorton will have to work. We do know Boyle’s $4.5 million and Yandle’s current $2.625 million will come off. In a vacuum, that alone would leave approximately enough to re-sign Yandle (currently earning a total $5.25 million split between the Blueshirts and Coyotes).
But if Yandle — who will be the object of affection of every team that can pay the going rate in need of a puck-moving defenseman who can run a power play — remains in New York, that would necessarily mean another year in Hartford for young left-side defenseman Brady Skjei, unless the Rangers trade or buy out Marc Staal, who would be entering the second year of a six-year contract at $5.7 million per that includes a no-move clause through the 2017-18 season.
That doesn’t seem likely at all.
Now, while it is true that the Rangers could create cap space by either trading Girardi (who would have to waive his no-move clause that runs through the end of next season) or by buying him out, that wouldn’t solve the depth-chart issue given that No. 5 plays the right.
The situation brewing in New York is almost indescribable. On most nights, it’s the world’s best goaltender smoothing over a colossally flawed roster that just hasn’t played very well. Their position in the standings is almost exclusively due to Lundqvist’s mere presence and the massive number of wins he’s individually added to the team.
Careful observers of the team have noted that there’s a frustrating disparity across the roster: A group of reasonably talented and capable forwards is being hamstrung by a struggling blueline.
-Travis Yost of TSN where you can read more on the Rangers.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Eric Staal has recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in 11 games as a Ranger, having gone seven straight since his lone goal in blue on March 6 against the Islanders.
But Alain Vigneault volunteered for a fair measure of blame for the center’s lack of production since coming to Broadway from Carolina in the Feb. 28 deal that beat the deadline clock by one day.
“I haven’t put him in ideal situations — it’s my fault,” said the coach, whose team faces the Bruins at the Garden on Wednesday. “I’ve been moving personnel around trying to find the right chemistry with the lines.”
Staal has played with five different sets of wingers. Vigneault broke up the successful Staal-berg Connection featuring No. 12 between wingers Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg after three games in order to accommodate Rick Nash’s return to the lineup after a six-week absence.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Jokinen tried to get the puck through as Luxmore leapt into the air but hit the post. The soft shot — Henrik Lundqvist lost his stick in the flurry of activity and it affected Jokinen’s trajectory — clipped the cage as well and slowly hugged the goal line slowed by ice shavings and crept out of danger’s way.
“It’s not a fun feeling when the goalie is out but the ref is right there,’’ said Jokinen, who echoed many who said they had never seen an official taking up that piece of prime real estate during a game. “Yeah, we had a lot of chances and made too many mistakes. We had enough chances to score four or five goals. But I need to put the puck in. It’s on me. I need to score on that. That’s on me.’’
Said coach Gerard Gallant: “A lot of things didn’t go our way. Some of the calls didn’t go our way. What do you say? ... That was frustrating when you see that happen. The guy was standing in the net. I’ve never seen that before, but those guys have a tough job to do.’’
more on the Panthers 4-2 loss to the Rangers...
via Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
The call came with 4:10 remaining in the third period as the Rangers (40-23-8) were holding onto a 3-2 lead and looking to back up their encouraging 2-1 win in Anaheim on Wednesday, which kicked off this three-game California swing. But the Kings (43-22-5) sent Anze Kopitar to the front of the net as they did so many times two summers ago, and that’s when Kopitar made a masterful deflection of a Milan Lucic shot, beating Lundqvist above his left shoulder to tie it 3-3.
Right there in Lundqvist’s crease was Tyler Toffoli, who didn’t exactly make an effort to move, prompting coach Alain Vigneault to use his challenge. After review, the goal was upheld, and Lundqvist still was steaming about it after another artful tip from Kopitar in front beat him 1:34 into the 3-on-3 extra frame for the win.
“I’m so frustrated right now I don’t know where to begin,” Lundqvist said. “The way we battled all game, and I think you just have to play by the rules. The rule is you can’t have a guy in the crease. I can’t come out to play the shot, and as a goalie, when you try to make a save, you have a forward motion. And he doesn’t make any effort to get out.
“And I can’t believe the ref, after watching it, not getting it right,” the King continued. “That means that you can pretty much put a guy in the crease, and as long as the goalie doesn’t get run over, it’s a good goal. That’s the way I look at this call.”
Watch the goal below...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
How impressed were you by the Rangers' 2-1 win in Anaheim on Wednesday night?
I stayed up to watch, and let me tell you, it's been a while since a team stifled the Ducks like the Rangers did. That was one heck of a defensive effort by the Blueshirts who began their scary three-game California trek with a huge win against what has been the hottest team in the NHL since Christmas.
The win put the Rangers two points up on the rival New York Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division, although the Brooklyn squad has two games in hand.
It doesn't get any easier for the Rangers, who play the Pacific-leading Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, but a win against a Cup contender like Anaheim can go a long way toward setting the tone for the Rangers as they try to hold off the Isles for that all-important No. 2 spot in the Metro.
more on the Rangers from the ESPN hockey crew...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The last couple of weeks had mirrored October, the Rangers winning steadily on the backs of their goaltenders despite 200-by-85 foot performances that were too often insufficient and uninspiring.
But not this time. Not on Sunday afternoon at the Garden when and where there was neither enough smoke nor enough mirrors to camouflage a presentation against the Penguins that was about 45 minutes shy of satisfactory.
There were too many turnovers and lost battles. There were too many times when the Rangers were a step behind. There wasn’t enough discipline. And on this afternoon, Henrik Lundqvist was unable to pick up the slack.
“It’s the same stuff that’s been giving us fits all year in spurts,” Chris Kreider told The Post after the 5-3 defeat to the Penguins that left the Blueshirts with their first two-game losing streak (0-1-1) since mid-December. “We couldn’t break out of our zone together, couldn’t come through the neutral zone and so we couldn’t get in on our forecheck and establish puck possession.
“When we struggle, more often than not this has been the reason,” said No. 20, who scored his fifth goal in eight games on a first-period power-play deflection to tie the game 1-1. “We can’t be throwing the puck off the glass like we did in Detroit [in Saturday’s 3-2 OT defeat] and chasing the game.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
It’s a childhood friendship reunited, and the Rangers look to be the beneficiary.
Eric Staal had this in the back of his mind when he forfeited his no-move clause and accepted the trade to the Rangers two weeks ago. Rick Nash was hurt, but the thought of playing alongside his old running mate from their teenage years with Team Canada was one of the first things that came to Staal when the trade went down.
Now, with Nash likely to return to the lineup for the game at Detroit on Saturday afternoon after a 20-game absence, all signs point to the two big bodies lining up together again.
“It’s been a long time; it’s crazy how fast time goes,” Staal said after Friday’s practice, when he centered a line with Nash on the left. “We were fortunate to kind of grow up together through junior hockey and some of Team Canada teams. Nasher has always been a great player, a power-type forward who gets to the net hard and can score goals. Funny how we’re here now, within our careers, it’s a great opportunity for both of us and for the team to have a good run down the stretch.”
That is the hope from coach Alain Vigneault, who seemingly had this duo pegged from the moment Staal packed his bags for Broadway. With the speedy and aggressive Viktor Stalberg on the right, Vigneault has created a line that is worthy of matchup consideration from the opposition.
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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