The Rangers have recalled forward Marek Hrivik from the Hartford Wolf Pack. The move is surprising, since Hrivik was just returned to Hartford this weekend after the regular season wrapped up. Also, Hartford played a game this morning at 11am, which makes this even more peculiar.
Aside from the surprise, Hrivik has shown he can handle a bottom line role in the NHL, in limited samples. If he plays, it will be a big test for the kid.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, kids! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, it’s finally above freezing in the NY Metro area, and hockey is about to be on at all times. Really, what’s better?
Here on the blog, we’ve previewed each of the eight upcoming series, broken down by series and by each writer. Share yours in the comments and let us know how spot on / awful our predictions are.
– Obviously Sidney Crosby draws most of the attention whenever anyone talks about the Penguins, but I believe the most important player in this series is Kris Letang. He’s the straw that stirs the Penguins’ drink, so to speak, and has posted 48 points in 43 games since January 1 (13 goals, 35 assists) while being Pittsburgh’s best player in its own zone by a country mile. Letang is the guy that spurs the Penguins’ speed game, be it an outlet pass to Crosby or hitting Carl Hagelin in stride or with an alley-oop to gain possession in the attack zone. The Rangers have benefitted from some fortuitous timing in the past with Letang missing several key games with a slew of injuries, but he’s at the top of his game right now.
– Speaking of Hagelin, I’m absolutely terrified about the hockey karma of the guy that knocked out the Penguins last spring being on the other side of the ice this time around. You know he’s going to score a big goal in this series.
The Rangers will continue to add undrafted free agents to the mix, this time signing UFA Swedish forward Malte Stromwall to a two-year entry-level deal. The 21-year-old right-handed forward played with AIK in the SHL last season, putting up a line of 24-17-42 in 49 games, leading his team in goals and points in a notoriously low scoring league.
Stromwall is a bit small (5’10”, 181 lbs), but was a potential draft sleeper in his draft year (2012). For reasons unknown, but I can venture a guess size had to do with it, he was undrafted. By all accounts he is a pretty skilled guy, and a solid add to a relatively depleted farm system.
Stromwall will join the Rangers in camp next season.
Over the past few days, we’ve spent a significant amount of time previewing the series between the Rangers and the Penguins, which kicks off tomorrow night. We’ve looked at systems, goalies, and the overall series preview. We dedicated an entire podcast to it. Suffice it to say, this matchup scares the bejesus out of most of us here.
The Rangers have a clear advantage in net and a slight (in my opinion) advantage at forward, especially with the Evgeni Malkin injury. However the Rangers fall woefully short where it matters the most: Overall process and showing improving play as the season progresses.
Leading up to the Rangers and Penguins first round match up on Wednesday evening, the boys from Pittsburgh find themselves in a strange situation. Their starting goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, practiced yesterday, but is unconfirmed to make it back in time for game 1. Their backup, and highly touted rookie, Matt Murray, is day-to-day after having his bell rung by Braden Schenn in game 81. He is also unconfirmed to be available for the start of the postseason. They have last year’s backup Jeff Zatkoff ready to go, and have called up (slightly less highly touted) rookie Tristan Jarry, just in case. Read More→
This week on the Blue Seat Blogs-cast we preview the Rangers’ upcoming playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins! As always you can find us right here, on Soundcloud and on iTunes. Thanks for listening, and join us next week for more playoff coverage!
A few requests came in to do a BSB only bracket challenge, so I created one over at the bracket challenge website. You can access the league by clicking here, or by typing “BSB League” in the search field.
Personally, I always find these to be fun with fans of a specific team, because they always think their team is the best. While I can’t offer up anything concrete, the winner can certainly write a guest post bragging about how much they know the game and how the losers are peons incapable of knowing anything about hockey.
Have at it folks. Let me know in the comments who joined.
The table is set for another round of the Penguins and the Rangers, who seem to meet in the playoffs as often as the Caps and the Rangers. This time around, it will be old friend Mike Sullivan, who was an assistant with the Rangers during the John Tortorella days, behind the bench in Pittsburgh. The change in coach means a change in system from the last time they met in the first round (last year).
The biggest change for the Penguins is that they are run a more aggressive style of play compared to Mike Johnston last year. They are more like Dan Bylsma’s Penguins in this regard, even without half their roster, as Pat pointed out. But even without key players, the Penguins enter the playoffs red hot and have really adopted this new style of play effectively.
Per Steve Zipay, Dan Girardi is a full participant in practice today after missing the last two games of the season with an upper body injury. Girardi was leveled by Brian Boyle in the third period of that contest.
Ryan McDonagh was on the ice in a non-contact jersey, but holding a righty stick. He’s not close, and AV confirmed he will not play in the opener.