Category: Around the League

Max Pacioretty escapes suspension from the NHL, evidence says he should have been

According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, Max Pacioretty will not be suspended or disciplined of any form for his hit on Ryan McDonagh during last night’s 3-0 defeat in Montreal. At this point Brendan Shannahan has not released his customary videos explaining his thought process to today’s events.

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Here’s what we know.

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Avery talks about pushing buttons

Sean Avery did an interview with TSN’s Off The Record where he addressed his NHL career, specifically his on-ice role as an agitator. Avery also addressed the general hatred for him in his own locker room, and he had some colorful remarks for that:

“what I do is try to push people s buttons constantly. If I ignored you then I probably had no interest in you whatsoever.

[snip]

there were many times where I had distasteful things to say to teammates, friends, families over my 12 year career. I said some of the worst things that you could possibly imagine being said and every time I did it was because I thought it would give me, or my time an advantage on a daily basis. I was extremely good at it, successful at it.”

It’s interested to see Avery addressed it so openly, but then again brutal honesty was always a part of Avery’s persona. Ranger fans loved Avery for his on-ice antics, but as his effectiveness wore off, so did his usefulness. There’s a reason he’s retired now.

Potential trade team: San Jose Sharks

Doug Murray would be an interesting trade target.

Doug Murray would be an interesting trade target.

In Andrew Gross’s post-game wrap of the Rangers win over the Lightning, he mentioned a little nugget about San Jose scout John Ferguson Jr., who was attending his second straight Ranger game. While this could just be JFJ and the Sharks doing their homework for the trade deadline, it got me thinking as to who would be a potential trade target for the Rangers should San Jose come calling.

The Rangers, considering their cap situation, are going to be looking for someone with an expiring contract. Out of the ten expiring contracts, nine if you assume Ryane Clowe won’t be a target due to price, there are two players that really stand out as players the Rangers could target that San Jose might be willing to part with: Douglas Murray and Michael Handzus.

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The current records of last year’s playoff teams

There’s been a lot of talk about how the Rangers are 1-3-0 to start the season. There’s a lot of panicking because the Rangers have generally looked flat and rusty, and that since this is a shorter season they can’t afford to be losing games like these this. Yes, every game means the same in the standings, but not all games are created equal. It’s like face offs, even if you win 60% of face offs, if you lose 5 in a row in the final minute in the offensive zone when the opposition is icing the puck, then that’s all that matters.

But with all the panic, let’s remember that the Rangers are not the only team in the East struggling out of the gate, and many of those struggling are teams that made the playoffs last year:

  1. Rangers: 1-3-0
  2. Boston: 2-0-1
  3. Florida: 1-3-0
  4. Pittsburgh: 2-1-0
  5. Philly: 1-3-0
  6. NJD: 2-0-0
  7. Washington: 0-3-0
  8. Ottawa: 3-0-0

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The Alternatives (or lack of)

Do you own a pair of skates? Give Glen a call, you could be of help!

Do you own a pair of skates? Give Glen a call, you could be of help!

Yesterday we discussed how the Rangers may eventually look outside of the organisation for help on the blueline. Unless you think Stu Bickel, Matt Gilroy or Steve Eminger are the answer then it’s perhaps inevitable that the Rangers are on the lookout. Of course, this is assuming team brass do not want Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh on the ice every other shift. So, with other teams such as the Red Wings signing viable alternatives such as Kent Huskins already, who’s still out there that could help?

The Rangers decision to bring in another defenseman will depend on what the Rangers want from their last pair. The options from either a free agent or trade perspective are limited, but there are some intriguing options, both defensive and offensively.

Chris Campoli

From the unemployed pool, Campoli would likely be the most expensive, but at this stage of an abbreviated season, anyone looking for work isn’t likely to make dollars a major stumbling block. The former Islander has likely plenty of gas left in the tank, but has been injury plagued in recent times. What makes him appealing for the Rangers is that he only costs dollars. Given the issues with moving the puck out of the zone, Campoli could help given that he’s a solid puck mover. If it’s offense and mobility the Rangers are after, then Campoli is the best of the rest at this stage.

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Redden lands in St. Louis

Less than 24 hours after the Rangers completed buying out Wade Redden, the veteran defender landed in St. Louis on a one-year, $800,000 deal. The buyout officially ended Redden’s tenure with the Rangers organization, and it’s nice to see him get picked up somewhere so fast.

Wade never fit in New York. Never mind the contract, his skill set just didn’t match what the Rangers needed from their defensemen system-wise. Still, unlike other players who were sent down to the Whale, Redden took it like a pro and made the best of a tough situation.

As for St Louis, they’ve added an experienced, steady, 3rd pairing defensemen. He’ll no doubt help their young and upcoming blueline mature. Most importantly, he’ll be doing it at an appropriate price point. It’s a good addition for their team.

Good luck Wade. See you in June.

Rangers could use a depth forward

A depth forward could be on the radar for the Rangers.

A depth forward could be on the radar for the Rangers.

Looking over the Rangers training camp roster, one thing that really stands out is the lack of depth, particularly on offense. Right now, the following has been reported as Torts’ early line combos.

Line 1:
Carl HagelinBrad RichardsRick Nash

Line 2:
Marian GaborikDerek StepanRyan Callahan

Line 3:
Chris KreiderBrian BoyleTaylor Pyatt

Line 4:
Mike RuppJeff HalpernArron Asham

One would think the Rangers would probably like to add another forward to the mix, specifically for that 4th line. Rupp and Asham will certainly find themselves useful matching up against other enforcement-type 4th lines. However, we may have some issues against speedier 4th lines. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Sather bringing in another body. This is something that Dave covered briefly this weekend.

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Looking at the Rangers condensed 2013 schedule

The MOU is signed, the schedule is released, and now it’s time to play some hockey. Training camps opened today, and the regular season will open on Saturday with all 30 NHL teams in action. The Rangers will open the season in Boston, and then come back to The Garden for their home opener against Pittsburgh the following day.

The first thing that will jump out at you when looking at the schedule is that the Rangers is their opening bunch of games. The Rangers open the season at Boston, then home against Pittsburgh and Boston, then at Philly, then home for Toronto, Philly, and Pittsburgh. That is one tough stretch of seven games, and that Toronto game reeks of a trap game. They also close the season with eight out of eleven games on the road.

The Rangers will play six back-to-backs and six three-in-fours. Aside from those stretches, the Rangers generally play every other day, with few two-day breaks between games. You can expect Martin Biron to get a bunch of playing time in those stretches.

It’s a tough schedule, but all 30 NHL teams are in the same boat. There will be a game on national television almost everyday this year.

Memo of Understanding signed, season can begin

Per multiple people on Twitter, the Memo of Understanding has been completed and signed by both the players and the owners. The owners ratified the CBA on Wednesday, and the players ratified the CBA this morning. The MOU was the piece of documentation required to allow the lockout to be lifted and to allow business as usual.

With the MOU signed, training camp can begin, schedules can be released, trades can happen, teams can sign players, and waivers are now active. Welcome back to hockey.

Rangers set to open season in Boston on January 19

It’s been confirmed for some time that all 30 NHL teams would open the 2013 season on January 19, but it hasn’t been confirmed where the teams will be playing. Some of these matchups have already been leaked, including Montreal/Toronto and Philly/Pittsburgh.

Bob Fedas of Boston.com was the first to break the news that the Rangers will open the season in Boston against the Bruins. This news leaked about an hour ago, and now it has since been confirmed by multiple sources, including John Buccigross. This won’t become official until the PA ratifies the new CBA this weekend, but it looks like the first game is set.