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Category: Around the League

Free agent frenzy: Rumor roundup before it all begins

Free agency is upon us, and the Rangers will see four key players test out the market. Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, and Benoit Pouliot all seem destined to cash in big elsewhere, while Dominic Moore is still hoping (along with the rest of us) to remain in New York. There are a lot of rumors out there, so let’s go through all of them before the click strikes twelve.

Considering the $69 million cap, I think Carter, Fayne or Tom Gilbert, and Mikhail Grabovski are the realistic targets that can fill holes, improve the team, and leave competition for kids.

Ryan Kesler traded to Anaheim

The first shoe has dropped in the 2014 NHL offseason, as Ryan Kesler has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks will get Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino, and 1st (#24) and 3rd (#84) round picks from Anaheim in exchange for Kesler and a 3rd round pick.

For those wanting the Rangers to trade for Kesler, the Rangers didn’t really have equal pieces there. They didn’t have the first rounder, and for players, it would be close to the equivalent of Carl Hagelin and John Moore.

Update: The Canucks have also dumped defenseman Jason Garrison’s contract, sending him to Tampa Bay with a 7th round pick and the rights to Jeff Costello in exchange for Tampa’s 2nd rounder (#50).

Ryan Callahan re-ups in Tampa, Rangers get 2015 2nd rounder

Ryan Callahan has re-upped in Tampa Bay on a deal that is 6 years and $5.8 million per year (basically a Dustin Brown contract, shocking). As a part of the trade with Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis, the Rangers will receive TB’s 2nd round pick in 2015, and the Rangers will send a 2015 7th rounder to Tampa Bay. To summarize the now completed trade:

  • To New York: Martin St. Louis, 2015 2nd round pick
  • To Tampa Bay: Ryan Callahan, 2014 1st round pick, 2015 1st round pick, 2015 7th round pick

2014-2015 Schedule released

Yesterday the NHL released the schedules for the 2014-2015 season. As noted on Saturday, the Rangers will open the season in St. Louis, and have their home opener three days later against Toronto. In between that, the Rangers will face Columbus, and then face the Islanders two days after their home opener, giving them a three-in-four and four-in-seven to start the season. If you’re going to have a five-in-seven, it’s best to do it in the beginning of the year when the legs are fresh.

The Rangers have their next three-in-four and four-in-seven in November (Leafs, Oilers, Penguins, Avalanche) and then another three-in-four to close out November into December (Flyers, Flyers, Lightning). All together, if I counted correctly, the Rangers will play 10 three-in-fours. The Rangers also play the majority of their home games (10) on Sundays.

The preseason schedule is here.  The Rangers will play six games, three at MSG. Oh hey, look at that, September and October games at MSG. It’s been a while.

Rangers open season in St. Louis; Play Toronto in home opener

The NHL has announced the openers and home openers for the 2014-2015 season, and the Rangers will open the season on Thursday, October 9 in St. Louis. They will face the Leafs on Sunday, October 12 at MSG, marking their home opener. The full schedule will be released tomorrow.

What the Rangers could learn from the Minnesota Wild

This game is humaaangous big

This game is humaaangous big

The first round of eliminations typically brings some surprises and, regardless of your team making the playoffs, a few disappointments. Fans who watched the Minnesota Wild edge out the Colorado Avalanche certainly found a new bandwagon to hop on. With the Rangers still in it, fans in the metro area may not have taken notice, but there is good reason why some glory coming to the state of hockey should be celebrated.

The Wild, well.. some have speculated (ahem, Kevin and myself) they would be swept straight out of the second round. And who knows, maybe they do go down in five games, but until then the bandwagon seems to be going strong. It’s hard to deny that watching Spurgeon in round 1 tie the game with 2:27 to go to take Game 7 into OT (heart palpitations, anyone?) and then having former Islander Nino Niederreiter win the series 5 minutes later wasn’t exciting. I was jumping around and I have zero feelings for either squad. So why should anyone be on this bandwagon aside from their obvious perseverance?

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An Open Letter to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Wakey Wakey shirts

Dear Hawks,

Usually, I like you. Despite growing up loving Detroit (thanks to my brother), I always thought there was something about you that was a bit charming. Maybe it’s the awesome jersey, or the great crowds you always seem to draw, or maybe it’s Patrick Sharp’s face. I can’t be sure. I certainly appreciated you last year when you took out the team that steamrolled the New York area straight into baseball season. But this postseason…. not so much.

I guess it started off bad for you. I’d begun to like the Blues cause who can’t when there’s so much American Olympic representation, including the shootout king Oshie and a kid who grew up a Rangers fan in Shattenkirk. But still, there was a respect I felt for you and an excitement I felt in what would be a gritty, tough, skilled matchup. I would love to see some nice, clean hockey played between rivals.

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End of the Regular Season Musings/Awards

John is angry

As we’ve hit the final day of the regular season, it’s time to look back and think about surprise teams, great plays and big news from around the league.  As our boys in blue look ahead to opening up the playoffs against Philly Thursday night, several teams around the league are getting their golf equipment ready and leaving hockey for the summer.  Of those teams are nearly all of the Canadian teams (except for Montreal) and a bevy of shocked fanbases. Ahead is a season reflective musings for this sunny Sunday on the East Coast.

Worst Display by a Fanbase: The Edmonton Oilers had an absolutely abysmal season, finishing with just 67 points after acquiring a new head coach (Dallas Eakins) and a new captain (Andrew Ference) in the offseason.  In an effort to show their displeasure with the team, a fan decided to throw their sweater on the ice. Twice. Goalie Ben Scrivens voiced how disrespectful that is, which it is, as it shows a lack of appreciation for all of those years that the teams before the 2014 squad had won. Scary thought: the Oilers wouldn’t even be the worst team if they played in the East. Scarier thought: when their talent clicks and they start to do well. I wish I was tech-savvy and could embed the video, instead, watch it here.

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Scouting the Playoffs: the Boston Bruins

Hockey.

Hockey.

With the playoffs on our doorstep, reminding us that our Rangers have yet to clinch a spot, it’s time to continue our look ahead at teams that we’ll definitely be seeing through late April at the very least.  Though the focus has been mostly on the west, the East is also somewhat settled up. The reigning Eastern Conference champs, the Boston Bruins, have been in destruction mode all season and don’t seem to be letting up.

The Bruins, cashing in with 113 points as of today, are making quick work of nearly everyone who comes their way. Much like last year in the playoffs, they’re a terrifying group to look at, which is useful as the Rangers come down the home stretch and need them to make work of rivals like the Flyers. With their defeat of Philly yesterday, they clinched the best record in the East and home ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference finals, something that’s a huge deal as they’ve got the best home record in all of hockey.

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Scouting the Playoffs: St. Louis Blues

Your Presidents' Trophy frontrunners...

Your Presidents’ Trophy frontrunners…

Being an enthusiast of following several teams closely, it’s only natural that playoff fever has hit me a bit earlier than for my nervous Rangers do or die fan counterparts. The great part of watching several teams is that you gain a perspective which you don’t get when your head is so far gone in hating that one guy on your team or figuring out why that other player isn’t getting enough ice time. It also educates you on the other conferences and divisions which your team will hopefully see down the road in May.

Throughout this journey of a season (isn’t it wonderful to have a full season again?), we were all graced with Olympic hockey which created a perfect opportunity for the casual hockey fan to learn about other teams. Who the heck is Bobby Ryan and why are we upset he isn’t being selected? Who is Cam Fowler? What is Blake Wheeler? All of these questions led to learning and eventually seeing these guys play.

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