Dan Girardi left last night’s 3-2 loss to St. Louis with a hip injury, and it appears to be more serious than a typical day-to-day style injury. With the next game coming on Monday against San Jose, it looks like Girardi will be out for at least that game. Assuming Kevin Klein cannot play due to his back spasms, it means Dylan McIlrath will likely be inserted into the lineup.
If Alain Vigneault wants to go the call-up route, then one of Girardi or Klein will need to be placed on IR to open up the roster spot. But all signs point to McIlrath playing at least one game, likely on a bottom pair, before the inevitable trade comes.
Jeff Gorton, in the mean time, will be placing a call to the Girardi-Cyborg store where all his parts come from. Clearly there was a defect somewhere in building him this season.
The Rangers dropped a game to the Blues last night in St. Louis, and boy do we have some things to unpack here. What needs to be said prior to this bullet point recap is this: the Rangers played well and were on the wrong side of PDO last night, so let’s take this loss with a grain (or twelve) of salt.
- The first goal, and beginning of the game, featured some bouncing pucks and attempts to settle play. The goal was a bad hop over Girardi’s stick at the blue line for a Tarasenko breakaway. Fun fact: he doesn’t miss those. Ever.
The Rangers had their new forwards on display on Thursday night, as speed killed the Islanders. It wasn’t without a little drama, as the Rangers defense is still in a state of disarray, but overall the Rangers are certainly improved up front. But now they are in St. Louis to take on a very good Blues team that appears to be on the cusp every season.
The Blues have a strong, puck moving blue line to go with their numerous skilled forwards. Goaltending is good enough in St. Louis to get by, and the only thing really holding the Blues back is the quality of their division. The Central is again a dogfight, and I’d venture a bet that St. Louis would win at least two of the other three divisions without much competition.
The Rangers have apparently signed forward Justin Fontaine, and immediately placed him on waivers to send to the Hartford Wolf Pack. The news on both broke from one seemingly innocuous tweet from Elliotte Friedman, who stated that Fontaine was on waivers for the Rangers. Friedman is rarely wrong, but most immediately thought Gabriel Fontaine, 2016 draft pick.
In fact, it is Justin, who will go to Hartford to replace the now departed Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe has gone to Switzerland, and has been released from his contract with the Rangers. Fontaine will be that veteran presence among the forwards in Hartford. He will also play a scoring role with the club. My guess is that, given his relative success with Minnesota over the last few seasons, he will be the first injury call up in these next few weeks.
The Rangers have the same amount of contracts/forwards in the system. When Oscar Lindberg returns, one more forward will be sent to Hartford as well.
Hartford Wolf Pack 6, St. John’s IceCaps 3
By Henry Lucey
Hartford, CT, October 14, 2016 – In front of an energized home crowd of 6,971, the Hartford Wolf Pack began their 20th-anniversary 2016-2017 campaign with a 6-3 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps Friday night at the XL Center.
Hartford’s Adam Tambellini opened the scoring floodgates, when he found the back of the net just a minute and fifty-six seconds into the contest. The goal was assisted by defenseman Michael Paliotta and center Philip McRae and went unmatched for just over half the period.
Chris Kreider has had an interesting Rangers career so far. He burst on the scene in the 2012 playoffs, but was up and down between the AHL and the NHL over the next two seasons. He stuck in the 2013-2014 season, as his rare combination of size and speed are matchup nightmares for opposing teams.
Kreider has been streaky as a Ranger, but certainly not ineffective. He’s put together a pair of 20-goal, 40-point seasons. But there is a common thinking that he could produce more. He’s been right on the cusp for a while, but the dry spells seem to always keep him from reaching 30 goals and perhaps 60 points.
The Rangers beat the Islanders by a score of 5-3 last night. There were some good things, there were some bad things. But I prefer to take the hot take approach, for poops and giggles. Let’s see how sizzling we can be.
- The Rangers are on pace for 410 goals over a full 82 game season. Considering the forward depth, and assuming Alain Vigneault continues to make the proper personnel decisions, I think the Rangers can average 2.9 goals per game, so roughly 240 goals for the regular season.
- The Rangers are on pace to allow 246 goals over a full 82 game season. Unless moves are made, I think that number is alarmingly close to accurate. Let’s come in at 2.75 goals allowed per game, so 225 goals allowed.
- Henrik Lundqvist will flip over 6 nets this season. Guaranteed.
The Rangers started off the season on the right foot, as their offense shined in a 5-3 win over the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak kept this game interesting in the first period, as he was very sharp and basically kept the Isles in it. But it wasn’t enough, as the Rangers put up a five-spot on him by the time the night was through.
As expected, the defense still remains a concern for the Blueshirts. There were some pretty terrible breakdowns, some of which led to goals. If this team is going to hang Henrik Lundqvist out to dry all season, then they are going to need to score five per game to win. But a win is a win in the first game of the year. Lessons are learned. They adjust. They move on.
On to the goals:
Hockey is finally here. It’s a little late, but better late than never. The Rangers drop the puck at home on the season opener for the first time in close to a decade. This season is likely going to be a roller coaster ride, with much improved forward depth and possibly a bottom-five defense.
Pat wrote a detailed preview of the game tonight, so be sure to check it out. That’s all I got. Welcome back, hockey. We missed you.
BSB faithful Spozo made a request to have a post asking everyone to predict how the season will go, and I am more than happy to oblige. Most of these questions will be key players into how the Rangers’ season will be this year. It will be fun to revisit this at the end of the year to see how we all did.
1. Over/under 14.5 games into the season before Dylan McIlrath gets traded?
2. Over/under 40.5 games as a Ranger for Tanner Glass?
3. Who will lead the Rangers in scoring (goals+assists) this season?
4. Who will lead the Rangers in powerplay scoring (goals+assists) this season?