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 Dan Girardi won this year’s Rangers John Halligan Good Guy Award. The Halligan Award is given to the “Ranger considered to have cooperated the most with the media during the season and previous winners (Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan and Henrik Lundqvist) ineligible.”
Rick Nash needs to find twine again. Starting tonight.
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 – he hasn’t been that dominant forward we’ve enjoyed for the most part of the year. This is the time of the year you need your best to be your best. That said, I think we see a strong game from Nash tonight.
For those of you that haven’t seen it, this is a nice little article on Lundqvist, on TSN. Just shows even without being a particularly old goalie, how much respect Lundqvist carries and what kind of impact he’s had on the league. There are probably many league goalies that look to The King for tips.
This time of the year, it’s about results. These next three games are in my view not just must wins but should wins. A team that needs points with the Rangers’ talent level should be maxing points in this next three. In fact, if the Rangers play to their talent level (a big ask this season for sure) there’s no reason they cannot win at least five of six. Big ask, but doable.
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Per John Giannone, Marc Staal is traveling with the club to Pittsburgh and then to Carolina
and Toronto. There is still no time-table for his return, so don’t expect him to be returning to the lineup during this trip, but it is a step in the right direction. It was reported two days ago that Staal was working out off the ice, and it appears that he has ramped up those workouts. The optimist in me thinks he can be ready for the playoffs, but I still wouldn’t plan on having him back at all this season.
In the best news Rangers fans could possibly hope for on deadline day, Marc Staal was at the practice facility today doing an off-ice workout according to Katie Strang. Strang was told that Staal is “progressing, but slowly.”
Obviously Staal’s potential return is off in the distance, but this may be an indication that there’s hope Staal could play again this year. That would be a far better addition than anyone the Rangers might acquire on deadline day.
Del Zotto has been solid lately, much needed by the Rangers
It won’t be a popular topic with many Rangers fans, but Michael Del Zotto has quietly gone about playing some very good hockey since returning from his injury. This return to form is also coinciding with the Rangers recent strong run, which is no coincidence.
Del Zotto’s form has been overshadowed by Ryan McDonagh’s own return to form, Marc Staal’s injury, Rick Nash’s free scoring ways and the partial re-emergence of a powerplay that has begun to make a positive difference once again (finally?). Perhaps this is the best way for Del Zotto. He gets the opportunity to float under the radar, and have the attention focused elsewhere.
In not being blamed for every defensive error committed by the Rangers, and partially forgotten about on the offensive side of the puck, Del Zotto has had the opportunity to play himself back in to form in relative peace and quiet. While other players take the plaudits, Del Zotto has gotten better.
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It looks like we have some positive news on the Marc Staal front. Per Kevin Paul Dupont, the Rangers expect Staal to miss an additional two or three weeks, assuming no setbacks in the recovery process. That represents the best possible scenario, and is great news for Staal and the Rangers.
The Rangers need Gaborik and the offense to help accommodate for Staal’s injury
It may seem an odd statement to make in light of an important defenseman being lost to injury, but the Rangers offense will need to produce consistently now more than ever. Despite the addition of Roman Hamrlik and the presence of multiple defensemen on the roster, the Rangers cannot reasonably expect to fill the void Marc Staal will leave. This is despite the presence of Henrik Lundqvist and the still impressive, remaining top four blueliners.
Any time a team loses a player of Marc Staal’s ability it’s going to hurt. When Staal went down the Rangers lost their best offensive blueliner (going by points alone), and lost a player that had returned to his All Star defensive best. Take an All Star who plays over twenty three minutes a game out of any line-up (except maybe the Blackhawks…) and you cannot reasonably expect the same performance level.
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The Rangers shoot for a season best fourth victory in a row tonight against the Islanders. Naturally, the Islanders love playing spoiler to their big brother neighbours so it should be a dandy. On to the musings.
Where do you stand on the visor front? I’m all for mandatory visors and always have been. Hockey is a fast and dangerous sport why wouldn’t you want to be as safe as possible? It will be interesting to see if Marc Staal changes his stance when (not if) he returns.
Hate to say I told you so: I said on Twitter that the Rangers should go after Roman Hamrlik before he was claimed, and I thought that before Marc Staal’s injury. He’s not what he was at 38 years old, but a rusty Hamrlik is better at this stage of his career than Stu Bickel, or more consistent than Matt Gilroy. Regarding the concern over his skating: Bickel can’t skate either and Gilroy’s skating ability hasn’t exactly helped him establish himself. So Hamrlik still represents an upgrade on the third pair, even with his limited skating ability.
One final thing on Staal; Assuming he misses the rest of the season, by the time next October comes around Staal will have missed a lot of hockey in the past two years. Does that affect him long term? It could go one of two ways; either he’ll benefit from having plenty left in the tank or he’ll have missed so much competitive hockey he’ll not be the same player he was.
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The Rangers released a statement today about the status of Marc Staal:
“Following an injury suffered in last night’s game vs. Philadelphia, Marc Staal was examined today in New York by Dr. Mark Fromer, ophthalmologist, and Dr. Mendel Markowitz, maxillofacial surgeon. The injury has improved significantly and both doctors are optimistic that Marc will make a full recovery. Staal will be sidelined indefinitely.”
Fans can exhale a bit, as it appears Staal did not suffer significant injuries after taking the puck to his eye last night. The words “out indefinitely” always scare folks, but this injury is not career threatening.
The Rangers took two points from the rival Flyers tonight, 4-2 at The Garden. With the exception of an incredibly scary puck to the eye suffered by Marc Staal, and some offensive zone penalties, it was a pretty awesome game to watch. Rick Nash flat out dominated and Ryan Callahan continued his high-scoring ways. Oh, and Henrik Lundqvist is back. Let’s get to the goals…
Rangers 1, Flyers 0
The Rangers started this game with a lot of energy and offensive pressure. The Callahan, Gaborik, Miller line was pressing in the offensive zone when Cally drew a holding penalty on Kimmo Timmonen. On the ensuing power play, the Rangers carried the puck into the zone on the near side. Max Talbot misread the puck and committed to the high slot. Stepan then sets up and 2-on-1 with Callahan down low, and The Captain takes it out on the water bottle into the top corner. Read more »