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Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: Michael del Zotto

Keep Moving Forward

When it comes to the New York Rangers as a franchise, we have seen many consistent themes each and every season.

One of those themes has to do with streaking. Going into Thursday night's game against the Florida Panthers, the Blueshirts have won two straight games in beating the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night and the New Jersey Devils last night.

With the two victories, the Rangers find themselves in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the same amount of points that the sixth place Carolina Hurricnaes and seventh place Toronto Maple Leafs have (32). What this means for the Blueshirts is that they need to keep moving forward and keep picking up two points whenever possible.

As I mentioned above though, the Blueshirts seem to run into a theme of winning a few and then losing a few. Prior to the Rangers winning two straight this week, they had dropped their last three games and were outscored 9-2 in those three tilts.

In a shortened season such as this one, the Rangers cannot afford to be up and down. Yes, the team currently holds a playoff spot but because of their extremely inconsistent play this season, they could just as easily be in the bottom seven of the Eastern Conference.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, toronto+maple+leafs

Pretenders

After winning the Atlantic Division, finishing first in the Eastern Conference and coming to within two wins of making it to the Stanley Cup Final since 1994, the New York Rangers came into this season as Stanley Cup contenders.

Throw in the fact that they had a Vezina Trophy winning goaltender between the pipes, traded for power forward Rick Nash and had the same defensive corps. the Blueshirts were in more than good position to win a Cup this year.

Unfortunately, nothing good has come from any of the above mentioned things for the Blueshirts this year. After losing 4-3 at Madison Square Garden tonight to the Winnipeg Jets, the team finds themselves in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. Sure, the Rangers are just one point out of the eighth spot but based on the way the team has played over the last week and a half, it certainly does not seem that way, right?

Tonight's game was a perfectly winnable situation for the Rangers, despite being depleted with injuries. With that said, the team's offense was not there until it mattered and when the team cut the lead to 3-2 in the third period, Rangers' masked man Henrik Lundqvist allowed an untimely bad goal to Jets' forward Evander Kane.

Another momentum killer for the Rangers came in the second period. The team, in particular Ryan Callahan, did a terrific job of killing off a Brian Boyle penalty and then a few minutes later, former Ranger Olli Jokinen scored to give the Jets a 3-1 lead.

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  Tags: evander+kane, henrik+lundqvist, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+mcdonagh, winnipeg+jets

Lundqvist Keeps Capitals at Bay in 2-1 Win

After getting off to a somewhat slow start, it appears that New York Rangers' starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is back to being himself between the pipes for his hockey club.

This was extremely evident tonight in the Rangers' 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist stopped 27 of 28 shots and picked-up his fourth straight win as he improves his record to 7-5 on the season.

Lundqvist was especially terrific in the third period as the Capitals beared down in the third period. The Capitals fired 11 shots at Lundqvist but the 30-year-old netminder stopped them all.

Before Lundqvist got on a roll in this game, it looked like the Rangers were going to blow the Capitals out of the water. The team outshot the Capitals 20-8 in the first period and yet, the club went into the second period down 1-0 thanks to the outstanding play of Capitals' netminder Braden Holtby.

That all changed when streaking Rangers' forward Carl Hagelin scored on a deflection to tie the game at one apiece. For Hagelin, it was his fifth goal in his last four games.

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  Tags: brad+richards, braden+holtby, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, washington+capitals

Rangers Hang On to Beat the Flyers

The New York Rangers survived a frantic third period to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers tonight by a score of 2-1 at Madison Square Garden.

The way the Blueshirts played tonight is exactly the kind of style that won the team many games last season. They got some timely scoring from defenseman Michael Del Zotto and team captain Ryan Callahan before relying on their penalty killing and team defense to win a hockey game.

Last season, the Blueshirts frustrated many opponents by playing this way and it was evident tonight that the Flyers got frustrated in the latter half of the second period and throughout the third period. Late in the second period, the Rangers killed off a 5-on-3 advantage and in the third period, the team seemed to either get in the way of every Flyers' shot or pass or get the goaltending they needed from Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves on 27 shots).

Another positive for the Rangers was the play of Del Zotto. With a goal and an assist tonight, Del Zotto now has six points (2 goals and 4 assists) in six games. Yes, he still needs to work on his play in his own zone but Del Zotto is certainly taking steps in the right direction. 

Rangers' speedster Carl Hagelin also had a great game for his hockey club. He forechecked, he created scoring opportunities with his speed and was all over the ice. He might not have any points yet but his efforts definitely have not gone unnoticed.

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  Tags: carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, max+talbot, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

60-Minute Hockey

For the first time this season, that is exactly what the New York Rangers played in their 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden last night.

The team dominated in all facets of the game and did all the little things to win a hockey game. This style of hockey is what made the Blueshirts so successful last season and last night against the Leafs, it was the perfect blueprint for a win.

The Rangers once again got another great performance from Marian Gaborik. With two goals and two assists for four points, Gaborik is now fifth in the league in scoring with nine points (5 goals and 4 assists) and has eight points in his last three games.

The team also got some offense from its blue line last night. Marc Staal scored the game-tying goal in the third period for his first goal of the season and took the shot from the point that was deflected by Gaborik for the game winning goal while defenseman Michael Del Zotto added two assists. 

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  Tags: brad+richards, james+reimer, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, toronto+maple+leafs

More than Fair

Correction: Del Zotto's two-year deal is worth $5.1 million according to New York Daily News New York Rangers' beat writer Pat Leonard.

These are the exact words that can be used to describe New York Rangers' defenseman Michael Del Zotto's new two-year deal with the club.

There is no doubting Del Zotto's offensive skills. Last season, Del Zotto was fifth on the team in the regular season with 41 points (10 goals and 31 assists) while adding another 10 (2 goals and 8 assists) in 20 postseason games.

Del Zotto has a great shot, knows how to make solid outlet passes and is not afraid to the rush puck up the ice. The 22-year-old blueliner also has excellent vision and knows how to creat offense.

While all of that is great, it is his defensive game that still needs some work. For everry great pass Del Zotto made, there were also ones that were very dangerous and led to turnovers. 

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers

Rangers’ Del Zotto Must Continue to Improve

When you are in the National Hockey League, it is not enough to have just one good season. 

This is the kind of attitude that New York Rangers' defenseman Michael Del Zotto must have when the puck drops on the upcoming season, whenever that may be. In fact, for Del Zotto, it is the only way that he will survive under team head coach John Tortorella.

When the 22-year-old entered the league in the 2009-10 season, Del Zotto showed how gifted he was and how he could be too four defenseman in the NHL. That season, Del Zotto posted 37 points (9 goals and 28 assists) in 80 games. Four of the nine goals were on the power play and he even managed to score one game-winning goal as well.

However, one statistic that was quite alarming was Del Zotto's -20. While there was no doubt that Del Zotto could play well on the offensive side of the puck, his defensive abilities certainly did not measure up to other defensemen in the league.

In his second season, Del Zotto hit the "sophomore slump" and struggled mightily with the Blueshirts. Due to his struggles, Del Zotto played in just 47 games with the Rangers scoring 2 goals and adding 9 assists to go along with a dismal -5. 

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  Tags: brad+richards, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Youth Will Be Served on Broadway

No matter when the next NHL season starts, it will be about youth when it comes to the New York Rangers.

Since the NHL lockout in 2004-05, the Blueshirts have been on a much different path than they were prior to the lockout. Instead of being a team that went out and signed or traded for old veterans or free agents, they have become an organization focused on developing their prospects/younger players while also being a team looking for the right pieces to fill the Rangers' organizational puzzle.

Much like last season, the upcoming season will be about developing the club's younger players while hoping guys like Rich Nash, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik (when he comes back from injury), and others can continue to help the team continue on the path to their ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.

One such youngster who will have a lot of eyes on him is forward Chris Kreider. After winning a national college championship with the Boston College Eagles, Kreider burst onto the Stanley Cup Playoffs scene on Broadway when he made his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators in Game 3. 

While Kreider did not produce in his first game, he showed that he had tremendous speed, a nose for the net and that he was definitely an offensively gifted player that the Rangers would be lucky to have. Little did the Rangers know that Kreider offensive gifts would come to fruition in Game 6 when he scored the game winning goal for the Blueshirts to force a Game 7.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, chris+kreider, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

Questions Heading into the Off-Season

With the New York Rangers’ season ending Game 6 loss to the New Jersey Devils now a few days behind us, I wanted to ask you guys a few questions:

1) Why do you think the Blueshirts failed to get to the next level this postseason?

2) What do you think happened to Marian Gaborik during the playoffs this year? Why did he stop scoring after scoring 41 goals in the regular season?

3) To get better for next season, what do the Rangers have to address this off-season?

4) Can you envision current New Jersey Devils’ forward Zach Parise being a Ranger next season? Why or why not?

5) While Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto certainly had a solid regular season offensively, what can/should he do to improve defensively?

Please leave your comments in this thread and thanks in advance for thinking about these questions.

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  Tags: marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, zach+parise

Devils’ Late Goal Sinks Rangers’ Comeback Efforts

At the end of the day, it does not matter how many goals you allow as long as you are the team that has more when the final buzzer sounds.

In tonight’s Game 5 between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, it was Devils’ forward Ryan Carter’s goal with less than five minutes to go in the hockey game that lifted the Devils to a 5-3 victory. The Devils’ defense may not have been great but in the end, it was their offense that got the crucial goal to give their team a 3-2 series lead.

For the Rangers, it was the things that happened both early and late in the game that hurt them the most. In the first period, the Devils scored three goals on six shots (Stephen Gionta, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac) to go up 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the hockey game. Then, in the third period, Carter scored the Devils to put them up 4-3 after the Blueshirts had gotten themselves back into the game and that was followed by a Zach Parise empty net goal with 1:32 to go in the hockey game.

Had it not been for those 15-minutes, this could have been a Rangers’ victory. Even when the club was down 3-0, they did not quit and battled hard to tie the game as they got goals from Brandon Prust, Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik.

The team was also able to take advantage of a somewhat shaky Martin Brodeur (25 saves) to get back into the hockey game. With that said, Brodeur battled to the end and made the big saves late in the third period when it mattered most and more importantly, he put his team one victory away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brandon+prust, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, patrik+elias, ryan+callahan, ryan+carter, stephen+gionta, travis+zajac

Looking for Answers Tonight in Game 5

Coming into tonight’s Game 5 between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, it appears that there are more questions than answers regarding the state of the Blueshirts after their 4-1 loss in Game 4.

While the Rangers were not exactly dead in their loss in Game 4, the team certainly was nowhere near its best. The club spent too much time in the penalty box, was outworked, outhustled and outshot and offensively, were too quiet to generate quality scoring chances against future Hall of Fame netminder Martin Brodeur.

Obviously, the team said all the right things both after the game and after yesterday’s practice but one has to wonder what the team is really thinking. For example, what is Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto thinking after his terrible performance in Game 4 in which he was the main cause of the Devils’ second goal by Travis Zajac and was also benched by head coach John Tortorella?

Another question that needs to be answered tonight is regarding the team’s offense? Where have the likes of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards gone? While it is not fair to put all of the pressure on Gaborik and Richards to perform, these are the only two guys on the Blueshirts, with the exception of team captain Ryan Callahan, that can produce and put the puck in the net on regular basis.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, john+tortorella, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, travis+zajac

That Old Feeling: Rangers Advance to Conference Finals to Take on The Devils

I am sure that this is something many of you New York Ranger fans are getting after the team defeated the Washington Capitals in Game 7 last night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will take on the New Jersey Devils.

Obviously, this is similar to 1994. While it did not take 7 games in 1994 to knock out the Capitals in the second round, the Rangers still came through with the win to advance to take on Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

18 years later, Brodeur is still the man between the pipes in New Jersey and has three Stanley Cups on his Hall of Fame resume. With that said, the Rangers team he will be facing this season is much different than the one he faced as a rookie in 1994.

Back to the Blueshirts. The Blueshirts have shown time and time again this season that when they need to win, they get it done.

Last night, the Rangers played “Ranger hockey” and got timely goal scoring, great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, played great defense, got in on the forecheck, blocked a lot of shots and won the game. This is what made the team so successful in the regular season and when they have played this way in the postseason, they have been able to come through with a victory.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

Rangers Continue To Roll

They may have already clinched a playoff spot and they may have somewhat of a tight grip on the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference but the New York Rangers are on a roll right now.

Tonight, the team won its 50th game of the year by beating the struggling Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. The team got another strong performance out of both Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 1 assist) and Brad Richards (1 goal and 2 assists) while also getting the goaltending they needed from Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves on 20 shots).

Gaborik and Richards are on fire at the right time for their hockey club. Gaborik picked up his 39th goal of the season and added an assist while Richards added his 25th goal of the season as well as two assists.

It may have taken a long time for Gaborik and Richards to work well together on the same line but it just goes to show you that patience is everything in the NHL. Yes, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella broke the pair up earlier in the season but was smart enough to put them together later on when their games were both going strong.

Another Rangers’ player who is on fire, believe it or not, is defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto picked-up 2 goals (his first 2-goal game of his career) and an assist and now has 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points on the season.

While his defensive game still needs some work, Del Zotto has had a terrific bounce back season for the Blueshirts this year. He looks a lot more confident with the puck and his offensive game looks much like it did in his first season in the league back in 2009-10.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, steven+mcdonald+extra+effort+award

King of The Hill

That is exactly what the New York Rangers are tonight after their 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg.

This was a gutsy performance by a team that never quits. Tonight, the Blueshirts came back from a 2-0 deficit on goals by defenseman Michael Del Zotto (1 goal and 1 assist) and team captain Ryan Callahan (1 goal and 1 assist).

After that, it was the team’s scoring depth that took over the game. Brian Boyle (1 goal) scored the game-winning goal just over three minutes into the third period followed by a power play goal from Derek Stepan (1 goal).

It is performances like tonight that the Blueshirts are going to need if they want to succeed in the postseason. There could be nights when the likes of Marian Gaborik (2 assists) Brad Richards (1 assist) and even Callahan (1 goal and 1 assist) are shut down so when that happens, the team’s scoring depth needs to step up and take care of business.

Speaking of taking care of business, Rangers’ starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist did that tonight by stopping 22 of 24 shots for his 38th victory of the season. It was his 250th career win, which puts him tied for 44th on the all-time wins list by a netminder with the legendary Johnny Bower.

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  Tags: brian+boyle, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, johnny+bower, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, winnipeg+jets

Varlamov Steals One at MSG

Sometimes, all a hockey team needs to win a game is good goaltending.

That is exactly what the Colorado Avalanche got tonight from their netminder Semyon Varlamov in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. Varlamov stymied the Blueshirts in making 41 saves on the night.

Varlamov was calm, cool, and collected in between the pipes tonight for his hockey club. He was able to control rebounds, had an excellent glove hand, recovered to make second and third stops and was the main reason why the Avalanche won tonight.

For the first time in the last few weeks, the Rangers were getting offense from all of their lines. No one was afraid to shoot the puck tonight, the team crashed the net but unfortunately, were only able to beat Varlamov once on 42 shots.

While it was the team’s second straight loss, one that has allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to stay two points behind the Blueshirts after beating the New Jersey Devils this afternoon, there were some other good things to come out of this game for the Rangers. For starters, a healthy Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup. Callahan was his usual self while Del Zotto tried to help add some more offense to the team.

Secondly, the team got a good performance out of their starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist allowed just two goals on 19 shots and played well enough to give his club a chance to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, henrik+lundqvist+mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, semyon+varlamov

Get it Back

The New York Rangers need to find a way to get back their consistent hockey and a win tonight against the Colorado Avalanche would be a great start.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a game that with fewer defensive lapses and more offense from players other than Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Carl Hagelin, the team could have come away with a win.

With that said, this is an extremely inconsistent hockey club right. The club’s goals against has gone up, there seems to be more holes in the defensive zone and the team is having trouble generating offense from three of its four lines.

Due to these past few weeks, the Rangers find themselves just four points up on the Penguins in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Now that Crosby is back for the Penguins and with the team riding a 10-game winning streak, the race might become that much tighter down the stretch.

Tonight, the Rangers will face an Avalanche hockey club that is currently in a battle to hold onto one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference. The team has been playing playoff hockey for the last few months and is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, colorado+avalanche, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

Blueshirts Overpowered by the Penguins in 5-2 loss

Going into the game without starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, defenseman Michael Del Zotto and team captain Ryan Callahan, one knew tonight’s game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden was going to be tough for the New York Rangers.

It was certainly tough for the Blueshirts as the team lost by a score of 5-2. The club did not have the depth to match what the Penguins were throwing out on the ice and unfortunately, it hurt them in the end.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain and arguably the best hockey player in the world, Sidney Crosby, had himself a solid first game back. Crosby picked-up an assist, was a +3 and had 16:00 minutes of ice time. He was also smart enough not to put himself into dangerous areas as to avoid getting hit too hard or being too vulnerable.

The Rangers were not terrible tonight but they certainly were not great. Defensive lapses early on in the second period really hurt the club as the Penguins were able to score two goals with the first 2:30 of the frame to go up by a score of 3-1.

The Blueshirts were able to cut the lead to 3-2 on a goal by Marian Gaborik but that would be the last time the team would find the back of the net tonight.

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  Tags: and+buffalo+sabres., brad+richards, carl+hagelin, colorado+avalanche, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, sidney+crosby

No Callahan and Del Zotto Tonight for Blueshirts

From Joe Yerdon at Pro Hockey Talk:

Captain Ryan Callahan and starting defenseman Michael Del Zotto will both miss tonight’s game against the Islanders with separate ailments. For Del Zotto, he’s still dealing with the hip injury that kept him out of action last week and kept him out of New York’s loss to Chicago on Friday. Callahan is still being bothered by the foot injury he suffered when blocking a shot two weeks ago. Callahan is one of the team’s top offensive weapons and when going without him has made life harder on the team.

On the upside, Brandon Dubinsky will play tonight. Dubinsky was having issues after getting hurt in a fight recently. Meanwhile, the Rangers called up offensive wizard Mats Zuccarello from the AHL. Zuccarello has 36 points in 37 games for the Connecticut Whale this season. Should the Rangers need help in the shootout, Zuccarello has the moves to help give them an edge.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Rangers Win Wild One Against Bruins

Going into the afternoon tilt, one probably thought it was going to be a defensive battle for 60 minutes.

Instead, 7 goals were scored with the New York Rangers coming out on top over the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-3. It was not easy but the Rangers did what they had to do to win.

For starters, the team was able to get two big ones in the first period on goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Carl Hagelin. The goals came 1:10 apart as the team took advantage of a somewhat tired Bruins hockey club coming off a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden.

However, Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien called a timeout after the second Blueshirts’ goal and did not say a word. Sometimes, silence really is golden.

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  Tags: benoit+pouliot, boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, claude+julien, dennis+seidenberg, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, jordan+caron, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ruslan+fedotenko, tim+thomas

Torn on Rick Nash

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan, than you have obviously been hearing all the talk regarding Columbus Blue Jackets’ sniper Rick Nash becoming a Blueshirt via trade come on or before deadline day.

While there is little doubt that Nash is an offensive threat and can put the puck in the net, I am torn on whether or not the Rangers should make a move for him.

For starters, I am not sure I want to give up the likes of Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto, or Chris Kreider. These are all young, terrific players that have grown up on the Rangers’ system and have succeeded in it (Kreider soon will). Are they really worth giving up on for the likes of a Nash?

Secondly, what has Nash accomplished with the Blue Jackets? Yes, the team around him is dreadful but he has only managed to get the team into the playoffs once. Again, I understand that he never had much talent around him but players have had less than him and have still led their team to more than one postseason.

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  Tags: brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, chris+kreider, columbus+blue+jackets, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

A 60-Minute Effort

That is exactly what the New York Rangers put in last night in their 3-2 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.

The game may have gone to overtime but this is a game that the Blueshirts controlled from start to finish. The team put pucks to the net, controlled the puck along the boards and looked confident in making plays with the puck in both the offense and defensive zones.

The perfect example of this was the overtime goal scored by Derek Stepan. Michael Del Zotto started it all by rushing the puck up the ice, giving it to Marian Gaborik, getting it back from Gaborik, going to the net, getting a lucky pass back to Gaborik who then fired a pass across to Del Zotto to the left of goaltender Steve Mason and then Del Zotto zipped a pass to the right of Mason to Stepan who fired it home to give the Rangers the victory.

One thing that hurt the Rangers in this hockey game was face-offs. Both Blue Jackets’ goals came off of face-off wins, including the game-tying goal by Rick Nash.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, steve+mason

Rangers Come Through Again With Win Over Panthers

It seems like every single time the New York Rangers play, they find a way to win.

The team did just that tonight by defeating the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime on a goal by Marian Gaborik at Madison Square Garden. Gaborik had been buzzing around the Panthers’ net all night long and was finally rewarded when he got the overtime winner, his 23rd of the season.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 25-9-4 to remain in first in the Eastern Conference by 1 point over the Boston Bruins. The win was also the Blueshirts’ 11th on home ice as the team now has a 12-3-2 record on Garden Ice.

Besides Gaborik, the Rangers also got solid performances from Brad Richards (1 assist), Derek Stepan (1 assist), Ryan Callahan (1 goal), Michael Del Zotto (1 assist) and Dan Girardi. It was also nice to see defenseman Marc Staal get a bit more ice time with 12:51 minutes tonight.

Even though the Panthers scored first and also managed to knot the game up at 2-2, the Rangers controlled most of the game. The Blueshirts outshot the Panthers 41-21 and did a terrific job of getting pucks deep, forechecking and going hard to the net.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

Battling the Florida Panthers

After what happened in last Friday night’s tilt between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, it is certainly going to be a battle tonight at Madison Square Garden.

In the Rangers’ 4-1 win against the Cats last week, tempers flared and the anger level was high after Blueshirts’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto was sucker punched by Panthers’ forward Tomas Kopecky after Del Zotto cross-checked him in the back a few times and high-sticked him in the face in front of the net. After the game, Panthers’ head coach Kevin Dineen said Del Zotto got what he deserved.

With both teams in the top three in the Eastern Conference (Rangers in first; Panthers in third), tonight should be a great game. Looking at the Rangers, they are clicking on all cylinders right now and have won their last two games and are obviously coming off an exciting 3-2 win at the 2012 Winter Classic over the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Florida Panthers are 4-4-2 in their last 10 but are certainly not a pushover hockey club this season. They work hard, can put the puck in the net, and can play physical hockey, as was seen last Friday night in Miami.

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, kevin+dineen, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, tomas+kopecky

These Blueshirts Are for Real

As the New York Rangers get set to kick of 2012, it might be safe to say that these New York Rangers are for real.

Both team general manager Glen Sather and team head coach John Tortorella had a vision for this team and for once, it was the same. As such, the product on the ice has been quite successful this season so far.

The Rangers’ identity is one that is hard-working, competitive every night, has a never say die attitude and promotes team depth. Put all of these characteristics together and you have where the Rangers are today.

As of this writing, the Blueshirts are first in both the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with a 23-9-4 record. The team is one point ahead of the second place Boston Bruins and two points ahead of the fourth place Philadelphia Flyers.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brad+richards, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan

Tops in the East

That is exactly what the New York Rangers are after shutting out the New York Islanders last night by a score of 3-0 at Madison Square Garden.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 22-8-4, which is good enough for first in the Atlantic Division and now, first in the Eastern Conference. The team is one point ahead of the Boston Bruins and two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The team used a solid 60-minute effort to beat the Islanders last night. After coming back from the holiday’s, many wondered how this Rangers’ club would respond due to the time off. The Blueshirts came back, skated hard and showed why they are one of the tops teams in the National Hockey League this year.

For starters, the team got another solid performance out of netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 28 saves for his third shutout of the season and how has statistics that make him one of the best netminders in the NHL with 15 wins (6th in the league), a 1.95 goals against average (4th in the league), a .936 save percentage (third in the league) and 3 shutouts (4th in the league.

The club also got another goal from their sniper Marian Gaborik. Gaborik now leads the NHL in goals with 21 and has a 5-game goal streak.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, washington+capitals

Rangers Extend Winning Streak To Three

The New York Rangers used a 3-goal first period to defeat the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-3 at Madison Square Garden last night.

Knowing that the Canadiens had played on Friday night against the Ottawa Senators, the Blueshirts came out and took advantage of a tired Canadiens’ team. The team got goals from Erik Christensen, Dan Girardi and a terrific goal from Michael Del Zotto to go up 3-0.

After that, the Canadiens found their legs and made it an interesting hockey game by cutting the lead to 3-2. However, instead of giving up the lead entirely, Rangers’ center Brad Richards came through and scored to make it 4-2 off a great shot from the slot, a place he has scored all his goals from this season.

While the Canadiens did end up cutting the lead to 4-3 late in the third period, Ryan Callahan sealed the game with an empty net goal. For the Rangers, it was there third straight win and more importantly, third straight win on Garden ice as the team improved its home record to 3-1-1.

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  Tags: brad+richards, dan+girardi, erik+christensen, john+tortorella, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, sean+avery, winnipeg+jets

A Bit of Both

Those words can best be used to describe last night’s 2-1 overtime New York Rangers’ loss to the New Jersey Devils in overtime.

The team was not great but the club was not horrible either. Yes, it took the Blueshirts awhile to get their first shot on goal but when they finally did, they seemed to setlle down a bit and generate some good scoring chances.

Overall, the club got good performances from the likes of Dale Weise (scored the game-tying goal in the third period), Dylan McIlrath, both goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot, along with line of Sean Avery-John Mitchell-J.T. Miller as the line forechecked hard and caught head coach’s John Tortorella’s eye.

Two players that seemed to be inconsistent last night were forward Erik Christensen and defenseman Michael Del Zotto. With regards to Christensen, it is all about playing with confidence, something he has struggled with in his NHL career. In the case of Del Zotto, it is about being consistent witht the puck as he needs to know when to hold onto it, when to dump it off and when to put it on net.

It is really early so fans should not read too much into last night’s loss. Like the players and the coaching staff, the fans must be patient and go with the process as the team continutes to shape up into a regular season hockey club.

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  Tags: cam+talbot, dale+weise, dylan+mcilrath, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, j.t.+miller, john+mitchell, john+tortorella, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, sean+avery

The Pressure Will be On Del Zotto

That could end up being the understatement of the season for the New York Rangers’ 21-year-old defenseman.

After bursting onto the scene with a 37-point rookie campaign in 2009-10, Del Zotto’s play regressed mightily last season. Del Zotto struggled with both inconsistent play and injuries that ultimately led to his demotion to the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League.

There is no doubt that Del Zotto has offensive ability. He has a great shot, he knows how to find the open man and he can rush the puck. With that said, however, he does none of those good things on a consistent basis, which leads him to missing the net, turning over the puck or leaving himself out of position on the backend.

Looking at this upcoming season, one has to wonder where/if Del Zotto will fit in with the Rangers’ young defensive corps. The team already has the top four spots locked up with Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer. Obviously, none of those spots will be up for grabs.

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers

What I Will Be Watching For This Season with the Rangers

With the month of August finally upon us, that only means that hockey season is getting closer and closer.

With that in mind, here is what I will be watching for this season when it comes to the New York Rangers:

- Brad Richards: This is a no-brainer. Since the team signed him to a nine-year deal, it will be extremely important for Richards to live up to his contract by producing, scoring goals, setting goals up, playing on special teams, being a leader and more importantly, be a true No. 1 center, something the Rangers have lacked for several seasons.

- Marian Gaborik: This is also an obvious choice. After scoring 42 goals in his first season as a Blueshirt in 2009-10, Gaborik slumped to just 22 goals last season. Yes, this was without a true No. 1 center but he was able to score over 40 under the same situaiton in his first season. Hopefully, Gaborik will be ready to pile in goals and stay healthy in 2011-12.

- Derek Stepan: How will the second-year Ranger respond to a terrific rookie season in which he posted 45 points (21 goals and 24 assists)? Hopefully, he will not go through the all too common sophomore slump that plagues many second-year NHLers.

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  Tags: brad+richards, derek+stepan, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, sean+avery

Del Zotto Expected to Be out 4-6 Weeks with Injury

This certainly will not be devastating news to New York Rangers’ fans but organizationally, it could hurt a bit.

According to team beat writer Steve Zipay, Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto is expected to be out 4-6 weeks with a fractured finger:

Update on this morning’s tweet on Michael Del Zotto injury: Out 4-6 weeks with fractured finger.

It may be just as well as Del Zotto has struggled mightily this year and has seen his ice time/game time diminished due to inconsistent play and the rise of players like Steve Eminger and Ryan McDonagh.

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers

Getting Off to a Good Start

After going three days without a game after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-3, the New York Rangers will be back in action tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Los Angeles Kings.

Both of these clubs are in the midst of a playoff race as the Blueshirts currently sit in the seventh spot in the eastern Conference while the Kings sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference. The margin of error for each team is extremely small as the Rangers are only four points ahead of the ninth place Buffalo Sabres and Atlanta Thrashers while the Kings are just one point out of the eighth and final spot in the West.

With that said, tonight’s game is extremely important for both teams, especially the Rangers who will begin a span of three games in four days against solid hockey teams in the Kings, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. It is crucial that the Rangers get off to a good start and get as many points as possible so that come April, they’ll be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, buffalo+sabres, john+tortorella, kris+newbury, los+angeles+kings, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, steve+eminger, wojtek+wolski

My Oh My How Things Changed on Broadway

Before the NHL Lockout during 2004-05, the New York rangers were all about having veterans and experience on the roster, even if it came at the expense of a younger player or prospect.

Fast forward about seven years later and the Blueshirts have completely changed their philosophy. A lot of this, believe it or not, is due to general manager Glen Sather along with former head coach Tom Renney and new head coach John Tortorella.

Today, the latter was raving about another Rangers’ prospect who he thinks should have already turned pro in Chris Kredier, MVP of the 2011 Beanpot Tournament:

“I wish he’d turn pro last year,” Tortorella said. “I hope he turns pro next year. I hope he’s with us. He’s a sophomore now and we’re anxious to get him involved in pro hockey. We think he’s got some good stuff to offer and we want to get him tracked up here with us as soon as possible.”

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, chris+kreider, derek+stepan, john+tortorella, mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, michael+sauer, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

Winless Streak Hits Six for the Blueshirts

Last night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers was one that the New York Rangers needed to come away with two points.

Simply put, they did not and managed to extend their winless streak to six games. It was a game that was essentially worth four points because it was against the Thrashers. With the loss, the Carolina Hurricanes are only three points behind in what has become an extremely interesting Eastern Conference race.

In their winless streak, the Blueshirts have lost four in a row. The team still holds the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference but are now just two points in front of the Thrashers, who hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

With a 2-1 lead in the third period, all the Rangers needed to do was play tight defense, stay out of the box, get big saves from Henrik Lundqvist and at the same time, push for an insurance goal. The Rangers were able to do three out of four and the one exception was one that hurt them the most.

Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto took a tripping penalty in the third period when he was not able ot control a bouncing puck along the boards behind the net and had to trip Nik Antropov as he came in alone on Lundqvist. The Thrashers were able to get a power play goal from Evander Kane, his second of the game, which gave the Thrashers a 3-2 lead and ultimately, the hockey game.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+dubinsky, evander+kane, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ondrej+pavelec, pittsburgh+penguins

Where is the Rangers’ Power Play?

In a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens yesterday afternoon, it was the power play that lost the game for the New York Rangers.

The Blueshirts had four power play opportunities and were only able to put one shot on Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price. Yes, the Canadiens’ penalty kill was very aggressive and did a terrific job in clogging ...up othe defensive zone but the Rangers need to be heckuva lot more effective with the man advanatge going forward.

The Rangers may not have the most talented group of forwards but they do have guys that can shoot the puck such as Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Artem Anisimov. They also have some talent at the points in Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal and Matt Gilroy who can get pucks to the net.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, carey+price, dan+girardi, john+tortorella, marc+staal, marian+gaborki, matt+gilroy, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Rangers Head Into Much Needed Break With 4-3 Loss to the Panthers

It certainly was not their best game of the season but it wasn’t exactly their worst as the New York Rangers fell to the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-3.

The Panthers got the game-winner when Panthers’ Mike Weaver took shot from the point that was going wide and instead, it ended up hitting Rangers’ forward Artem Anisimov’s shoulder and popped up in the air and landed behind Lundqvist to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead and ultimately, the victory.

While that was a negative for the Blueshirts, there were also several positives. Down 3-1 going into the third period, the Rangers’ battled back on goals by Brandon Prust and Dan Boyle to tie the game. For Boyle, it was his team leading 18th goal of the season, a number that I don’t think anyone expected him to have heading into the season.

Another positive for the Rangers was the play of Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello picked up three assists. Zuccarello knows how to set-up his teammates, knows how to get to loose pucks and knows how to use his speed to create scoring opportunities, all skills that will allow him to have success in the NHL.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+prust, dan+boyle, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, mike+weaver, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Lineup UPDATE/Another Tough Test on Tap for the Blueshirts Tonight

UPDATE: Per New York Rangers’ beat writer Andrew Gross, goaltender Martin Biron will start tonight against the Washington Capitals:

Biron playing because Torts refuses to play Lundqvist 5 games in 7 nights. Why tonight vs. Caps and not tomorrow vs. Panthers? “Why not?”

To clarify: Marty Biron starting tonight vs. Capitals. Lundqvist should play tomorrow at MSG vs. Panthers.

EARLIER: It seems like every game these days is a test for the New York Rangers.

The test consists of questions such as:

- Can they overcome injuries to win a hockey game?
- Can they score enough goals to win a hockey game?
- Can head coach John Tortorella keep the lines consistent?

Well, more than half way through the season, it is easy to say that the team has passed each test they have been given. With that said, will the team pass the test they face tonight against the Washington Capitals?

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  Tags: andrew+gross, atlanta+thrashers, brandon+prust, dan+girardi, evgeny+grachev, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

Rangers’ Defense: Not So Bad

Going into the season, many hockey pundits and fans alike wondered how the New York Rangers’ defense would perform this season.

Well, almost halfway through the season, the team is currently eighth in the National Hockey League in goals against, averaging 2.55 goals against per game. Not bad for one of the youngest defensive corps in the NHL.

When it comes to the team’s defense, one constant has been Marc Staal. He blocks shots, breaks up plays, hits hard, makes great outlet passes and every once in awhile, shows that he has some offense in him. He has been the club’s best defenseman since joining the NHL in the 2007-08 season.

Defenseman Dan Girardi has also been one of the Rangers’ best defenseman since joining the team during the 2006-07 season. He logs a lot of ice, blocks a lot of shots, and has contributed 20 points (3 goals and 17 assists) from the blue line this season. When paired with Staal, they are one of the best shutdown pair of defensemen in the NHL.

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  Tags: dan+girardi, marc+staal, matt+gilroy, michael+del+zotto, michael+sauer, michal+rozsival, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh, steve+eminger

Del Zotto Down, McDonagh Up

From New York Rangers’ beat writer Larry Brooks via Twitter:

BREAKING: Post has learned that Rangers are sending Del Zotto to AHL and recalling Ryan McDonagh.

This was a long time coming for Del Zotto. It was apparent that he was not getting it done and struggled by coughing up pucks, not playing his position well enough in the defensive zone while also lacking confidence.

For Del Zotto, getting some time down in the AHL will be a great thing for him. It will give him a chance to get his confidence back, see how the game should be played and allow him to gather the necessary tools he needs to succeed in the National Hockey League.

 

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh

No Surprise: Del Zotto Scratched For Fourth Straight Game

In what is starting to become a regular occurence this winter, New York Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto will be scratch tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is what team beat writer Andrew Gross had to say:

As for news today: Michael Del Zotto will remain out of the lineup for the fourth straight game (the second time as a healthy scratch) as coach John Tortorella continues to go with these defense pairs: Marc Staal-Dan Girardi, Steve Eminger-Michal Rozsival, Matt Gilroy-Mike Sauer. But I don’t think Del Zotto will remain out that much longer. Focus clearly on Rozsival and also probably Gilroy to improve their games from Wednesday’s 3-1 win at New Jersey.

As I have said before, I believe that this is a good wakeup call for Del Zotto. He’s going to be a great defenseman in this league but before becoming one, he needs to learn to be smart, make the right plays and do so on a consistent basis.

What do you folks think?

 

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Blueshirts Set To Take on the Devils

Looking to repear their Monday night performance over the New York Islanders (7-2 win), the New York Rangers are set to take on the New Jersey Devils tonight at the Prudential Center.

What is amazing is that the games between these two clubs used to mean a lot when both were competitive. Unfortunately for the Devils, they are currently last place in both the Eastern Conference and the entire NHL.

What does this mean for the Blueshirts? Well, knowing the Rangers, it could be a trap game where the team gets outplayed by a far-lesser hockey club and misses out on picking up two crucial points.

With that said, this year’s version of the Rangers appear to be a much different hockey club. They work hard every night, they have stayed in most games they have played and believe it or not, they have won more often than they have lost this season.

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  Tags: john+tortorella, mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Groin Injury Comes at the Right Time For Del Zotto

According to the Daily News’s New York Rangers’ beat writer Jesse Spector, defenseman Michael Del Zotto will miss tomorrow night’s game due to a groin injury:

The Rangers had a very long practice today in Greenburgh, starting with 10 players on the ice spending 45 minutes working on the power play, then a full team session for an hour. Michael Del Zotto sat out with a sore groin, and will not play when the Rangers face the Devils tomorrow night in New Jersey. The 20-year-old defenseman, scratched the last two games – once with the flu and once technically healthy – had a cortisone shot and should get back to work quickly.

A trip to Connecticut of the AHL is a possibility for Del Zotto, whose repeated mistakes trying to make the big play when a simple one will do have become a point of concern for John Tortorella.

The Blueshirts should really consider sending down their young defenseman to the AHL. It is obvious that he has lost some of his game and confidence and some time in the AHL may help him regain both.

What do you folks think?

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  Tags: ahl, connecticut+whale, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Gilroy Stepping Up for the Blueshirts

In the last week or so, there has been a noticeable difference in New York Rangers’ defenseman Matt Gilroy’s game.

Gilroy has appeared to be more confident, poised, willing to jump into the play, make smart plays in the defensive zone and more importantly, a steady presence on the club’s blue line.

According to Rangers’ web site beat writer Jim Cerny, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella went as far to say that Gilroy was the club’s “sixth defenseman”:

Great stuff from Boyle and Gilroy…by the way Torts called Gilroy “one of our six (defensemen) right now”...hmmmmm…

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  Tags: john+tortorella, matt+gilroy, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers

Not a Game to Take Lightly

Tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden between the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders is one that the Blueshirts cannot afford to take lightly.

Believe it or not, the Islanders are 3-0-1 in their last four games and have won games the right way. They have worked hard, won battles in the corners, threw pucks to the net, scored the dirty goals and got terrific goaltending from Dwayne Roloson.

With that said, it will be up to rangers’ head coach John Tortorella to get the team prepared for a game that they should win, considering that they have taken two of three from the Islanders already this season.

As was reported last night, Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto will be a healthy scratch while Mats Zuccarello will once again crack the line-up and get a chance to add on to his solid performance in his first NHL game last week against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  Tags: mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers

Sending a Message to Del Zotto

While New York Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto has recovered from the flu, it appears that team head coach John Tortorella will scratch the defenseman for the team’s game tomorrow night against the New York Islanders.

Del Zotto has clearly struggled this season. He gives up the puck way too much, has not contributed as much offensively as he did last season and also does not seem as confident as he used to. Unfortunately, this has cost the Blueshirts in various games throughout the season.

As such, it is apparent that Tortorella is trying to send the youngster a message. Andrew Gross reported as much from the team head coach in his blog earlier today:

Tortorella said this shouldn’t be viewed as a negative thing regarding Del Zotto, noting he’s still a 20-year-old defensemen who needs to go through the “process” of learning how to be a rock-steady NHL defensemen. But Tortorella did admit that, last season, had the team been carrying seven defensemen instead of the bare-bones six, he likely would have scratched Del Zotto at times during the second half of the season.

“He should get a message just being out,” Tortorella said. “He’s healthy and this is a coach’s decision. He’s been inconsistent. Michael will have to wait his turn.”

 

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  Tags: john+tortorella, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers

Mats Zuccarello Aasen to Make Debut Against The Lightning Tonight

Going into a crucial game at Madison Square Garden tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the odds are already stacked against the Blueshirts with both Marian Gaborik (groin) and Michael Del Zotto (flu) out of the lineup.

To help fill the void, the team has called up Mats Zuccarello Aasen to take Gaborik’s spot. In 32 games with the club’s American Hockey League farm team, the Connecticut Whale, Zuccarello Aasen has 24 points (13 goals and 11 assists) in 32 games.

While he has been somewhat inconsistent at the AHL level, Zuccarello Aasen had recorded points in five of his last six games with four goals and four assists and has also put up 22 points in his last 20 games. As such, he is coming to the Blueshirts having played some of his best hockey in the AHL.

With that said, however, the NHL is a different animal and it will be interesting to see what Zuccarello Aasen does to adjust his game to fit the NHL style. According to Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella knows that he needs to put Zuccarello Aasen in a position to create offense.

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  Tags: brian+boyle, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, mats+zuccarello+aasen, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Looking at a Few Players Who Need to Step Up

This is what the New York Rangers are faced with as they do not play a game until Thursday night at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Blueshirts’ had their three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia when the Flyers beat them by a score of 4-1. The team did not play terribly but it is apparent that some players have a few things to work on before their next game.

- Michael Del Zotto

Del Zotto needs to get his defensive game in order. He has an abundance of offensive talent but since he is a defenseman, he should concentrate on making that part of his game better.

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  Tags: erik+christensen, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, tampa+bay+lightning

Lots to Be Learned

When you have a second year 20-year-old defenseman who has a lot of talent and potential, you have to take the good and the bad.

That is what the New York Rangers are doing when it comes to defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who was a -3 in this afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

He continues to be victimized in his own zone, he gives up the puck and defensively, he seems to find himself out of position more often than not. In today’s game against the Flyers, all of these weaknesses were present and it hurt the Blueshirts as they were beat by the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Obviously, the game was not all his fault as his teammates could not bail him out when he made a mistake. Hockey is a team game and more often than not, one cannot pin a loss on a specific individual.

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

Blueshirts Week Ahead

At this point in the season, it is great to see that the New York Rangers are in the thick of the Eastern Conference early season playoff race and are getting solid performances spread throughout the season.

In this installment of “Blueshirts Week Ahead”, I’d like for you folks to keep an eye on several players as well as give you a look at who the team will be facing off against this week.

Players to Keep An Eye on

- Michael Del Zotto

It will be interesting to see how Del Zotto performs after being scratched last week in the team’s 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Team head coach John Tortorella gave him a homework assignment to see how the club’s power play performed along with what he should be doing on defense.

Remember, Del Zotto is only in his second season and at the age of 20, still has a lot to learn.

 

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  Tags: alex+frolov, michael+del+zotto, michael+sauer, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins

Blueshirts Miss Opportunity to Defeat Penguins

The scoreboard may have read 3-1 at the sound of the Madison Square Garden buzzer but this was a game in which the New York Rangers could have beaten the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won their seventh straight game last night.

They had a several-minute lapse in the second period that really cost them the game as the Penguins scored two quick goals off the sticks of defenseman Kris Letang and forward Chris Connor. Other than that lapse, however, it was a solid game for the Blueshirts.

Now, I know that you folks probably want me to mention the Sidney Crosby “slue-foot” or however you spell it, but I am not going to talk about that here. It is what it is and it does not even matter as the Rangers probably would have lost with or without it.

What I will talk about is the Rangers missing the net. The team had several scoring chances in the third period and they just could not hit the net for one reason or another. Blueshirts’ forward Alex Frolov is a player that sticks out in my mind when it comes to this as is defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who has a great shot but has trouble finding the net with it.

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  Tags: alex+frolov, chris+connor, henrik+lundqvist, kris+letang, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Rangers With Great Response in Minnesota

After losing to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night, the New York Rangers were an entirely different hockey club on Saturday night in their 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

It was a 60-minute effort that saw timely goal scoring, solid defensive play and a good game from back-up netminder Martin Biron (25 saves). None of these things were present in Colorado on Friday night.

The Blueshirts got goals from Arterm Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Frolov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Ruslan Fedotenko en route to the team’s seventh road victory (7-3).

Many fans were probably surprised that Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella went with Biron in goal, especially since Henrik Lundqvist only played a little more than half the game in Colorado on Friday night. However, Tortorella made the right decision in starting the back-up netminder and Biron responded by picking up his fourth victory of the season (4-2-0, 2.33 goals against average, .907 save percentage).

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  Tags: alex+frolov, artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, calgary+flames, derek+boogaard, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko

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