Musings: The Grate, The Gaborik and The Girardi

March 8, 2012, by

Welcome to Thursday. It’s my 6th favourite day of the week. Rangers get to mix it up with the Senators tonight. Given the mixed performances in recent games it could a tricky one for the Blueshirts. Any-hoo, let’s jump in to it shall we?

I’d be remiss not to mention him this week: Sean Avery not on the Whale Clearing day roster. He divides opinion and certainly, his on-ice play (while at times highly effective) didn’t deserve all the media attention he got but I can’t help but think he could found a better way to leave this organisation – especially given his apparent relationship with Sather. He truly does burn all his bridges doesn’t he? He’s gone from being a highly promising Ranger to an afterthought. Shame.

I can’t help but think, given the Rangers play in their own zone in recent games, that Lundqvist should start both Thursday and Friday while the team get their play in front of him back on track. Let Biron start a handful of games toward the end of the year.

Anyone else thinks Michael Del Zotto would have a little more hype around the league (as a young offensive blueliner) were it not for the ridiculous Erik Karlsson? This season has seen a number of young defensemen really solidify their reputations: Karlsson, Del Zotto, Edler, Pieterangelo and Shattenkirk and even Nick Leddy have all become quality ‘D’ this year.

  • Quietly perhaps but I can help thinking Brad Richards has been better of late. Who knows, maybe he’s gearing up towards the ‘second season’?
  • I really would love to hear the full explanation from Tortorella regarding Mitchell’s scratch because he sure hasn’t been worse than a handful of forwards I could name.

Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka – at this stage they really are dead weight. That said, I think one of them may have a minor role still to play. Either Dan Girardi is injured (not bruised) or he’s tiring. As Glen (who contributes on the site) and I agree, his high standards seem to have slipped recently. Have all those minutes taken their toll?

Despite a pretty unfortunate game against the Devils, Marian Gaborik has been impressive recently. There seems plenty left in his tank. His burst is still getting him past defensemen. I still think he hit’s 40 goals this year – a milestone his effort would warrant. He’s been pretty damn consistent all year even when he hasn’t scored for a stretch.

Artem Who?

So Brandon Dubinsky scraps against the Devils and has to leave the game as a consequence. Right, so with Scott, Rupp, Bickel and Prust in the line-up he feels the need to get amongst it? File this under yet more unintelligent play this year from Dubinsky. That’s taking ‘setting the tone’ too far.

Michael Del Zotto and Derek Stepan: reason alone to love the 2008 NHL draft. That said, three other Ranger draft picks have made the NHL when you factor in Weise, Grachev and Kundratek and if Steven Fogerty develops it could be a highly successful draft. Again. Hold on, it already is.

As I write this, ESPN America (in the UK) just showed a highlight reel Lundqvist save between programmes. He’s taking over the TV here too.

Question Time:

  • Who would you rather as a first round opponent: Ottawa, Winnipeg, Capitals or Jersey?
  • Who are the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs loom?
  • Should the Rangers take a look at a player from the Whale before the playoffs?
  • (inc playoffs) How many games will Chris Kreider play for the Rangers this season?
  • Will Tim Erixon be Rangers property next season?

I want to give some credit to a forgotten player in the organisation: Chad Johnson. Let’s face it, he’s likely to leave in the summer to look for NHL opportunities but he’s had a pretty good bounce back year for the Whale this season. A .922% and a 2.34GAA, with 18 wins is a pretty strong season. Unfortunately for CJ the Rangers have Marty Biron.

Zuccarello who?

One final thing; despite posts about needing more skill (and going out and acquiring it) and posts about Rick Nash and him helping the Rangers I am a strong supporter at what Sather and his team have built since the lock out. The club have built patiently in exactly the right way and Sather, the scouting department and the coaching staff (in which I include Renney’s contribution) have reinvigorated what was a tarnished franchise. The difference is I believe they can help the club – whose development has been quicker than expected – get to where they want to get a little quicker with a few smart decisions this summer.

Enjoy your Thursday and Lets Go Rangers! 


  1. tmd39 says:

    The hate that Dubinsky gets from Rangers fans is unreal. If TOrts is going have him center the 4th line, he’s gonna have to fight from time to time. It was fine a week ago when he fought Clarkson, but this week (because he lost the fight, badly) it’s a dumb move. If he would have won the fight and the Rangers had fed off that momentum to a win, I guess it would have been a smart move. The guy can’t win.

    • Chris says:

      I didn’t think it was fine a week a go. He doesn’t need to fight just because he can.

      He’s immensely talented and thats why I’m tough on him. He’s having an atrocious year – fact.
      When you earn big bucks you get judged by a different standard

      • Jackson says:

        That’s true, his contract does warrant a great deal of criticism based on what he’s put up. However, you can’t blame him for playing the role Torts put him in (i.e. the occasional fight as a 4th liner).

  2. Walt says:

    Of the teams that are listed, the Jets are the ones who I would prefer to open the play-offs with. They are a poor road team, and their defense is weak at best. The Caps are dangerious, and have learned to play D when needed. They have plenty of O as well, and are very dangerious. The Devils are big, strong, tough, and skilled, let them slug it out with the Beantown boys. Last, but not least, the Sens are free wheeling, can score big time, play D, and have two very dangerious guys in Alfredson, ans Spezza.

  3. The Suit says:

    1) I want the Caps. I want post-season revenge.

    2)Most dangerous team is Pittsburgh. The’re elite from head to toe.

    3)I’d call up Erixon. We need someone who can help get the puck out of our zone. He may help solve that.

    • Chris says:

      Great answer. Love revenge even though they’d be dangerous

      • Sioux-per-man says:

        Agree on all 3 points. Caps aren’t half the team they were last year. W

        I don’t see Erixon getting the call up, we seem deep this year on defense.

        Gabby, Richards, Callahan need to step up in the scoring department. It’s time for the leaders to Lead.

        Kreider looks to be the one player that might get a chance to add a spark to the offense. But Torts team is very structured, and very precise on Defense accountability, I just don’t see him throwing the kid in without going through camp first. Not even a 50-50 chance, and especially if his team makes the Frozen Four. 10% tops.


        • Chris says:

          Kreider is known as a defensively sound forward that will gladly come back and help out in his own zone.

          I’d be wary about criticizing Gaborik too. Given he has inexperienced line mates and is still on course for 40 goals is pretty impressive.

        • Jackson says:

          In my opinion Callahan is one of the last player who should be expected to step up, he’s already looking to have a career year. Improved play from Richards, Anisimov, and of course Dubinsky on the other hand could do wonders for our offense.

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Every opponent should be respected, however that being said I would prefer an outright match up with the Pens because they are the most dangerous team in both Conferences. Tim Erixon should be the call up if need be and he will remain Ranger property unless we make a move on draft day to move up the draft. He can be a nice piece to get a 1st rounder to get say Griffin Reinhart and we then select Tom Wilson with our own pick. That would bode well for the whole team. A future pairing of Reinhart and McIlrath could be quite scary. As for Mr Kreider, To Hartford young man for this year and establish more pro experience there and learn the system to get a head start for next year and hopefully a star is born.

    I am also scratching my head as to why Stralman and Mitchell were benched, I have to think it was to rest them and we may start seeing more players sitting out a game or two down the stretch.

  5. Dave says:

    Dubi fought because he had to back up his words when he torched Clarkson. I have no problem with that fight whatsoever.

  6. Justin says:

    1. Give me the Jets- mess of a back-end and very questionable goaltending.

    2. This is a no brainer to me – The Penguins

    3. If Erixon continues to play well for the Whale, I’d like to see him get a call up. Even if he is used sparingly on the 3rd paid, it could provide valuable experience going forward. Plus, I think he is an upgrade in the skill department from Eminger, Woywitka, etc.

    4. I say zero games for Kreider. I think he should sign and go to Hartford. I’m just not willing to gamble on his immediate impact when weighing it against the loss of a year on his entry level deal.

    5. I think it depends on Rick Nash. I could see him being traded near the draft for a high end scorer, and I think Nash will still be the guy the Rangers target if the bidding on Parise gets too rich.

    • Glen Miller says:

      I don’t think the bidding for Parise will be any more expensive than the remainder on Nash’s deal. I have a hard time believing anyone will offer $7.8 million annually prior to word on a new CBA and salary cap structure. In that event I would much rather sign Parise than trade for Nash. We get to keep all of the young kids and still add electric scorer for what will likely be a similar contract to or even less than Nash. Of course if Parise signs elsewhere we may need to revisit Nash discussions pending our performance in the post-season.

  7. JTC says:

    1. Like others, I want the Caps in the first round. Revenge would give the Rangers a nice boost into the second round.
    2. The Penguins. In fact, if any team has a chance to challenge the Rangers for the conference title, it’s the stinkin’ Pens.
    3. Especially if Dubi is going to miss some games, I’d call up Zuccs and see what he’s learned. I still think he can bring some jam and some offense.
    4. No need to rush Kreider.
    5. 50/50 on Erixon.

  8. RangerSmurf says:

    Artem who? Seriously?