Is Ballard worth the risk?

With the NHL draft behind us, the attention turns to the free agency period beginning on July 5th. In the mean time, teams begin to offload salary and make roster changes in anticipation of auction season. One of the moves that has already been made has seen Vancouver place Keith Ballard on waivers (regular waives, not buyout waivers). While the…

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Rangers final grades: Defense

Defense was a hallmark of the 2011-2012 New York Rangers.  It was arguably the key ingredient in their run to the Eastern Conference Finals.  They had an unwavering commitment to shot-blocking and solid play in their own end.  Even without a ton of roster turnover, the unit was not as proficient as they were last season, but still had a…

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Thoughts following the most recent elimination game

The Rangers were able to keep their season going/salvage some dignity last night with a dramatic OT win over the Bruins at MSG.  My sister-in-law, who is an ER nurse, was working last night and catching bits and pieces of the game on a hospital TV.  Between the third period and OT, she posted on Facebook, “Ok Rangers, I kept…

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Until Marc Staal comes back, the defense will struggle against deep teams

Something that was very obvious during yesterday’s loss was that the Rangers defense had a lot of trouble matching up and shutting down the Bruins forwards. Prior to the series, coach John Tortorella swapped his defense pairings to prepare for a much deeper Bruins club. In doing so, he split up Dan Girardi/Ryan McDonagh, and put Girardi with Michael Del Zotto. Let’s be clear about…

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Staal, Clowe, Powe all ruled out for tonight

Per Pat Leonard, Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe, and Darroll Powe are all out for tonight’s Game Seven in Washington. Powe and Clowe didn’t even travel with the team for the game tonight. With these three out, expect the same lineup as Game Six. It’s worth noting that the Rangers have not dressed their top lineup at all during the postseason.

With Staal out and Eminger benched, the bottom pairing becomes a problem

Last night, Marc Staal was a last-minute scratch from Game Four, forcing Steve Eminger back into the lineup. In Games One and Two, Eminger got enough ice time to give the others a rest, playing 10 minutes in Game One and 14 minutes in Game Two. After sitting out Game Three (with Staal in the lineup), Eminger played just six minutes in Game…

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Breaking: Staal activated, could play tonight

Per Katie Strang, the Rangers have activated Marc Staal off injured reserve. This is not a guarantee that he will play tonight, but it is very likely he will be back. Staal will likely replace Steve Eminger in the lineup.

Special teams matchup may decide the series

One of the oldest adages of hockey is that to win games, you must stay out of the penalty box.  Nothing revolutionary there, it makes sense that you don’t want to give your opponent too many chances to outnumber you on the ice. It will certainly ring true in Round One, when the Rangers face Washington’s #1 ranked power play,…

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Staal nominated for Masterton trophy; Girardi gets Good Guy Award

Per Andrew Gross, Marc Staal has been announced as the Rangers’ nominee for the Bill Masterton trophy. The Masterton is awarded to the player “who best exemplifies dedication, perseverance and sportsmanship to hockey.” Staal overcame a concussion that cost him half of last season, and has been out since March after taking a puck to the eye. Gross also noted that…

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Musings; Tame the Cats edition

It’s a game day. It’s the Florida Panthers who always seem to trip up our boys in blue. If ever there was an occasion not to play down to the level of your opponents it’s tonight. Let’s jump into the musings. Rick Nash needs to be better. The past few games – starting with a few turnovers against the Islanders…

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