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Posts tagged: Aaron Voros

Rangers Claim Avery (Update: Backstrom re-ups, Voros/Reitz Waived)

As expected, the Rangers claimed Sean Avery from Dallas on re-entry waivers. The Rangers will be on the hook for $2 million a year for the next three years, which is pretty much what the Rangers wanted to sign him for this past offseason. This also leaves the Rangers with roughly $4.99 in cap room for the remainder of the season.

I don’t understand this move, I really don’t. I like Avery, I really do, but the team needed a change and a catalyst, and they got it in Tortorella. Throwing Avery into the mix just doesn’t sound like a good idea right now, especially because Torts doesn’t want him there. You really have to question if there is a proper line of communication between Torts and Sather.

This also puts the Rangers against a wall next offseason, with the cap going down, and the Rangers with a lot of RFAs to sign. Let’s hope Sather has a trade of a medium to long term contract (Voros?) to clear some room for the offseason.

But for now, welcome back to NY Sean. I’m sure Stas is doing back flips.

Update 12:30pm: Looks like Niklas Backstrom won’t be leaving Minnesota this trade deadline. He re-upped with the Wild today for 4 years, $24 millioni.

Update 12:50pm Aaron Voros and Eric Reitz have been placed on waivers. That clears some room.

Also placed on waivers: Miro Satan, Gary Roberts, Brenden Morrison, Brenden Bell, Jon Sim, Lawerence Nycholat, Martin Gerber, Craig Adams, and Eric Perrin.

Game 63: Rangers vs. Florida

Update 9:30pm: With the regulation loss, and Buffalo/Carolina each getting at least a point, the Rangers have dropped to 7th place in the East (8th if Buffalo wins), just 2 points ahead of Carolina.

If there was ever a crucial game for the Rangers, this would be it. The Rangers sit 2 points ahead of Florida for 6th in the conference, but Florida has 2 games in hand. They also sit just 1, I’ll even spell it out for you, ONE, point out of 9th place.

They need this game, no if, ands, or buts about it. Not only do they need this win, but they need it in regulation. Buffalo (#8) faces Carolina (#9) tonight as well. Should the Rangers lose, and Buffalo wins, the Rangers drop to the #8 seed. If Carolina wins, the Rangers drop to the #7 seed. I’m not going to run all the scenarios, but I hope this illustrates the urgency behind this game.

The Panthers website is reporting that Vokoun will be a game time decision tonight. Not like that matters, Craig Anderson is a very capable backup, and has given the Rangers some problems in net.

More later.

Update 6:15pm: Now that the game gets nearer, I’ll move this up to the first post on the page, ahead of the Whitney/Kunitz trade.

None of the beat reporters have lines up, and it looks like Torts isn’t going to disclose that information until game time.

My guess is that he will be using the same lines as last night, maybe inserting Mark Bell somewhere.

Tomas Vokoun has an inner ear infection, and it looks like Craig Anderson will get the start tonight.

Update 6:35pm: Reitz/Sjostrom out, Mara/Voros in.

Update 7:10pm: They aren’t even going to review that? Well, I guess if Torts isn’t arguing, it’s no goal.

Update 7:14pm: Well, the Rangers have been generating some good chances early on, including that no goal by Dubinsky. Let’s see if they keep this up.

Update 7:17pm: What a save by Hank. Wow.

Update 7:22pm: That’s what happens when you drive to the net. Nice play by Callahan to get the puck out of the zone, nice pass by Kalinin to Gomez, nice job by Naslund to get the loose puck into the net. 1-0 Rangers. Naslund from Gomez and Kalinin.

Update 7:30pm: So that’s what Glen Sather looks like…

Update 7:36pm: Denis Potvin is in the house, on the 30th anniversary of his hit on Nilsson.

Update 7:39pm: The Rangers are getting a lot of good shots on net. Craig Anderson is standing on his head.

Update 7:43pm: Phantom call on Rozsival to end the period. 1-0, end of 1.

Update 8:03pm: Even the penalty is more aggressive under this new system. They are certainly much more fun to watch.

Update 8:04pm: Wow. Craig Anderson just made an absurd save. He is single-handedly keeping the Panthers in this game.

Update 8:20pm: The PP will take some time to get used to the adjustments. Micheletti said it best, it’s not natural yet to rotate around. It will take time.

Update 8:30pm: Lift the puck please. That’s twice.

Update 8:35pm: Hit the net please. Disregard, deflected by Anderson.

Update 8:54pm: Dubinsky and Staal are the ice time leaders for forwards/defense through 2 periods. Good to know Torts trusts the sophomores.

Update 8:59pm: Nice passing play on the PP, nice save by Anderson. I think the Rangers would need a 5-on-2 to score a goal though.

Update 9:03pm: Oh come on Gomez. How do you not bury that? It was an empty net and the puck was on your stick. What the hell man?

Update 9:07pm: The Rangers are looking real tired right now.

Update 9:09pm: Ouch. Zednik just took a slap shot off the neck. This man and his neck, he’s just unlucky.

Update 9:10pm: Oh man, it was a McCabe shot too. That has to hurt.

Update 9:12pm: Crap. Booth slides it through Hank’s legs. Hank wants that one back. 1-1. Booth from Weiss and Ballard.

Update 9:16pm: Someone blew an assignment. Horton was left wide open. 2-1 Panthers. Horton from Zednik and McCabe. The Rangers need a goal, and they probably won’t get it.

Update 9:21pm: It was Gomez that blew the assignment. So he couldn’t score and blew that assignment. That’s a 2 goal swing courtesy of one player.

Update 9:22pm: And the FIRE SATHER chant rains down from the heavens (the Blue Seats).

Update 9:30pm: Another Ranger loss. This one in regulation. I’ll put the updated standings at the top of the post.

Game 62: Rangers at Toronto, Torts Debuts

John Tortorella begins his stretch as Ranger head coach tonight in Toronto, the second meeting of a home-and-home meeting between the clubs.

In keeping up with Tortorella’s theme of a clean break, this marks the first game of the remaining 21. If the Rangers want to make the playoffs, they will have to win at least 13 games. Let’s hope they are up to the task.

The forward lines will remain intact from the last practice:

Dubinsky-Drury-Callahan
Naslund-Gomez-Zherdev
Dawes-Korpo-Prucha
Sjostrom-Betts-Orr

The defense is as follows (as per Zipay):
Rozsival-Redden
Staal-Girardi
Kalinin-Rietz

Expect the top 13 to get plenty of ice time. I am really nervous about that Rozsival-Redden combination, it could either work really well or fail miserably. I don’t think there’s a happy medium there. I like Staal and Girardi together though. They both have the offensive potential and the defensive mindedness to work with each other. Kalinin-Reitz will be interesting to watch, I’m not sure how I feel about that combo.

Aaron Voros is scratched, and Paul Mara is still out with his shoulder injury.

I won’t be doing a live blog tonight, I don’t even think I’ll be watching the game tonight. I have a work function I have to attend and it’s from 6:30-9:30. I am not happy.

Rangers Claim Mark Bell

The Rangers made another waiver wire move today, claiming Mark Bell on re-entry waivers from Toronto. Bell has had a troubled past with substance abuse, and could have just needed a change of scenery from Toronto. Granted, I don’t know how well playing in NY goes to getting over substance abuse.

Bell, 28, was the #8 pick by Chicago in the 1998 draft, and it’s safe to say he hasn’t lived up to the potential. At 6’4, 220lbs, he’s the big forward that can show a scoring touch (averaged 30 goals in 3 seasons with Ottawa in the OHL). This move probably isn’t going to amount to anything, but it’s worth noting.

As for the contract, the Rangers are on the hook for half of Bell’s $2.5 million salary this year. Pro-rated, this amounts to roughly a $320,000 cap hit, leaving the Rangers with roughly $700,000 in cap space to work with for the deadline.

With this move, Avery returning this season seems less likely. I ran the numbers. As of now, Avery’s cap hit would be roughly $512,000, and it decreases by roughly $24,000 with each game the Rangers play. The minimum Avery cap hit would be roughly $439,000, which is met if the Rangers claim him on re-entry waivers after the Saturday game with Colorado.

Update: It could also mean the departure of one Aaron Voros, who’s purpose on a Tortorella team is up in the air, especially with the arrival of Bell, who has more offensive upside than Voros. We know how much Torts likes his offense. If the Rangers can get anything for him, I would be impressed.

Image Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

His First Day

So what does Tortorella get today when he comes to practice? Tortorella gets a team that is in free fall, a team that is 2-7-3 in their last 12. He gets a team that is currently 6th in the East with 69 points, but just 2 points out of 9th, and 4 points out of 10th.

He gets a team that is 29th in the league in scoring, at 2.33 G/G (Nashville is last). He gets a powerplay that has been god awful at 13.8%, good for 28th in the league. In short, Tortorella gets a team that relies on holding their opponent to 1 goal a game.

Tortorella is the exact opposite of Tom Renney. He is an in your face guy, and most importantly, will hold the high priced guys accountable for terrible play. It looks like the high priced guys knew this was coming, because Gomez and Drury have been playing well lately, and Rozsival and Redden have been better. Yes, Redden has been better. He still cracks a little bit under a rush, but his first passes have been solid.

Torts is a “safe is death” guy. So expect a lot more scoring chances, at the expense of defense. I say chances because we never know if this team can actually finish. Hank will have a little bit more of a workload as a result, but that shouldn’t really worry or surprise anyone.

The powerplay should also look a lot better. Torts will get in Rozsival’s and Redden’s faces about shooting more. We may actually see Marc Staal on the powerplay, which will make all of us very happy.

Basically, expect to see the Rangers evolve into a different type of team. They will attempt to play an up tempo game. Torts was the best hire that Sather could have made.

A few side notes from the Torts hiring:

  • Torts does not like Avery. Do not expect him back with the Rangers any time soon.
  • Torts is not the savior of this team. It is still a very flawed team built by a flawed GM. Sather should be praised for this move, and the Zherdev move. But his signings have been ridiculous.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of having Schoenfeld behind the bench as an assistant. He knows this current team better than anyone within the organization, and will help Torts get acquainted.
  • Expect a transition period. The Rangers will be going from a defensive system to an offensive system, and there will be some collateral damage. Expect them to make some glaring mistakes while they adjust.

Who knows what Torts will do. Maybe he reads this blog and knows that we want Prucha in the lineup in lieu of Voros. I can only hope.

Game 60: Rangers at Buffalo, A Must Win

As of today, the Rangers sit in 5th place in the East, 1 point ahead of the Canadiens, and 2 points ahead of 8th place Buffalo. A loss to Buffalo today drops the Rangers to 6th (at a minimum), with Buffalo leapfrogging over 3 teams to take 5th.

A loss would also stop any momentum built from a well played game against the Islanders on Wednesday.

In a shocking development, Petr Prucha will not be the odd man out tonight. Aaron Voros will sit in the press box, and the Korpedo will return to the lineup after missing a game with an upper body injury, taking Voros’ spot on the Zherdev line.

Hank in net tonight, no surprises there.

It’s a Saturday night, no live blog from me tonight.

Update 6:30pm: With Montreal’s win this afternoon, the Rangers sit in the 6 spot at the moment. A loss tonight drops them to the 7 seed, just 3 points ahead of the 9th place Hurricanes, and 4 points ahead of the 10th place Penguins.

SEAN SEAN….GET IN THERE SEAN!!!!

So today is the day Sean Avery presumably clears waivers and will be assigned to an AHL affiliate of some sort.  As you all know, the Wolfpack seem to be the front (and only) runners to pick-up the agitator, which will begin the chain of events that may ultimately end in #16 returning to the Big Club.  While my colleague David is mainly opposed to this, I could not be more in favor of this move.  My man-crush for Sean Avery and his legend aside, it is a necessary move for THIS team THIS season.  Here’s how it could work, and here’s why it has to work:

1. There have been few cold-hard undeniable facts for these Rangers in the post-lockout era.  These include (but are not limited to): a) Henrik Lundqvist being a top-5 goaltender in the league b) Tom Renney sacrificing offense for defense 99% of the time c) the Rangers are a better team with Sean Avery in their lineup.  The statistics do not lie: with Avery in the lineup, the Rangers are 51-23-16.  Without him, they are 8-10-3, not to mention the Rangers missing that extra “something.”  Just watch a game this season and you will know what I’m talking about.

2.  The Rangers do not have to resign all those players previously mentioned.  If this season has proved anything, its that the majority of Rangers are expendable (Scott Gomez and Chris Drury trade rumors anyone).  The only members of the group previously mentioned that must be re-signed are Big Z, Dubie, Staal, and Girardi.  While I like Dawes, Korpo, and Cally, you can find another other young player in the farm-system to come in and play their role.

3.  The Rangers would only be on the take for half of Avery’s salary, roughly $2 million per year.  When you consider this is only a minor raise from what he was initially getting with the Rangers and a cut from what they wanted to give him in the offseason, its an acceptable number.  If the Rangers choose to re-negotiate his contract, either for less years or less money, they have a distinct negotiating advantage.  Not many teams will take Avery at this point, and he probably realizes that and history shows this can be a productive marriage.  Put whatever clauses and incentives you want into the contract.  They will have the upper-hand in any contract talk they engage in.  So saving money against the cap won’t necessarily be that difficult.  They can also unload either Redden or Roszival in this deal.  While their contracts are long and fat, that’s the price you must pay for giving top-tier money for 2 players that are obviously not top-tier and bring very little to the team.  Those contracts are going to haunt the Rangers one way or another; better haunt them in an effort to make the team genuinely better.  Also, the salary cap will predictably go up, so the value of Avery’s cap hit will be decreased.

4.  The Rangers are vanilla.  As evidenced on Friday night, nobody respects this team.  You can do whatever you wish to them, and will pay virtually no consequences.  Say what you want about Avery in the locker room, but he always came to his teammate’s defense on the ice, and as an opponent, you probably always thought twice about engaging in something with one of the Rangers for plain-old fear of what Avery might say or do to you.  And if he has made the progress in his rehab everybody says he’s making, he will learn to channel his tactics in a productive manner.  He has also hopefully learn from the past mistakes he made in NY.

5.  Avery has skills.  He has better than average speed, a quick release, is tough and gritty, and can throw off a opposing team’s star player on any given night (see Brodeur, Martin; Kovalchuk, Ilya).  Enough of this Aaron Voros “poor-man’s Sean Avery” garbage and just go get the real thing.  He also puts it on the line every single night, evidenced by playing the majority of a playoff game with a lacerated spleen.  I work in medicine, and that is something that can kill you.

6. Fans (myself immensely included) love this guy.  Since the lockout, you can count on one hand the number of players that get their name chanted during a game at the Garden: Henrik, Shanny, whoever is getting their jersey retired that year, and Avery.  Maybe I’m missing a name here or there, but you get my drift.

Hundqvist & Mara sick, and not because of the offense

As Dave alluded too earlier, Corey Potter is back with the club, but not to serve as the 7th D-man. Steve Zipay notes that the flu has made it’s rounds in the locker room, and neither Henrik Lundqvist or Paul Mara skated this morning. With Dmitri Kalinin’s back still acting up and uncertainty surrounding Mara’s available for tomorrow night’s game in Dallas, Potter’s presence was more necessity than luxury.

Jane McManus also reported on some (surprise!) new line combos, as Aaron Voros skated with Scott Gomez and Markus Nasund this morning. The Betts-Orr-Sjostrom and Drury-Dubinsky-Zherdev units are still in tact, while Nigel Dawes was skating with Lauri Korpikosi and Ryan Callahan. Petr Prucha will again be a healthy scratch. I’m sure Dave’s thrilled.

Korpo/Vally In, Fritsche Out, Prucha Sits Again

As per Sam Weinman, the revolving door that is the Rangers lineup is getting tweaked again. The Korpedo is back in tonight in lieu of Dan Fritsche, who was invisible last game. Valliquette is also in tonight, with Hank expected to get the start tomorrow at The Igloo.

As for Prucha, he’s sitting again. I guess Voros’ presence in front of the net is worth 3 minor penalties a game. I don’t know how Prucha can keep his positive attitude while getting benched for no apparent reason. More power to him.

So tonight the Rangers again will have two forwards sitting in the press box, and the same six defensemen playing. Seriously, just waive Fritsche. What does he bring to this lineup?

Update 3:00pm: I guess the Rangers management reads this blog. Fritsche has indeed been waived (Note, this is in French):

Fritsche au ballottage

Les Rangers de New York ont placé le nom de Dan Fritsche au ballottage mardi.

Translation:
New York Rangers have placed? the name of Dan Fritsche to the ballot Tuesday. (Translation coming via Google Translate). Obviously “to the ballot” means “waived”. That should free up some cap room.

Let the Juggling Continue

As per Sam Weinman, Voros and Fritsche are in, while the Korpedo and of course, Prucha, get to sit this one out against the Ducks.

Voros, who has been pretty ineffective since, well, October 18th (3 G, 2 A since then, no goals in the last 14, no points in the last 9), serves no purpose in a lineup that is already featuring Colton Orr. You can say all you want about toughness and grit, but the fact of the matter here is that Voros is painfully slow. His best use is in front of the net screening the goalie, which he rarely does.

Fritsche, on the other hand, hasn’t played since November 30th, and has as many games played as Chris Drury has goals on the season. Other than what I read, I don’t know much about Fritsche. His career highs are 12/15/27 in 59 GP. That’s not half bad for a 3rd liner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about switching it up every now and then to give the team a little jolt. But I think this is a little bit of over coaching by the revered Tom Renney. Sure, they were weak in Pittsburgh, but considering the circumstances of their previous game, and the road trip, don’t you think there’s a chance that they were just a bit tired? I mean, they did just go 3-1-1 on a 5 game road swing.

The Korpedo was playing very well, and had 3 points in the last 4 games. Prucha, who gets a ton of attention here, was held without a point for the previous 3 games (OH NO! LET’S PANIC!), but had 5 points in his last 9 games. He was clicking on the line with Drury and Dawes, and he was probably one of the more energetic, and less inept, Rangers out there the past few games.

I just don’t see a point in this lineup change. Please, feel free to point out something I may have missed.