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Posts tagged: Ruslan Fedotenko

Injured Rangers Improving: Staal, Fedotenko Hopeful For Tomorrow, Gaborik Practices

The New York Rangers had good news at practice today involving a trio of their walking wounded.  Marc Staal and Ruslan Fedotenko were able to participate fully in practice and both are possible additions to the lineup tomorrow against Minnesota.  Marian Gaborik was also able to skate and practice today for the first time since last Friday and says he has been feeling better the past few days.

Per Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants the decisions on Staal and Fedotenko will be made tomorrow morning while coach John Tortorella has already ruled Gaborik out of the lineup.  If Staal returns it would be a huge boost to the defensive core and would likely mean Steve Eminger would be back in the press box as the healthy scratch, but Matt Gilroy could also be a possibility.  Staal has not played since February 22nd against Carolina due to the knee injury he sustained on his first shift of the game.  Staal attempted to practice on Monday in hopes of playing against Buffalo, but had a setback and missed last night’s game.  The fact that he made it through the full practice today is a good sign, but with three games in four nights they could wait an extra day to bring him back if there is any concern in the morning.

With Fedotenko all signs point to him being back in the lineup tomorrow as he recovers from aggravating his previous shoulder injury in his first game back last week.  The addition of Feds to the lineup is very important to the way the team forechecks and the aggression they play with.  Those things are contagious and the Rangers have really gotten away from them for long stretches of games lately and hopefully watching Fedotenko do it will rub off on the rest of the club.

Where Marian Gaborik is concerned the cautious approach is the best approach.  That he was able to participate in practice is a great sign, but the real test will be tonight/tomorrow to see how his head responds to the work.  If he is able to avoid the problems he had when he tried skating last week it will be another step in the process to him returning, though I would still not expect him back in the lineup in the immediate future.

Brandon Prust also took a maintenance day to let all his ailments rest a little before the team plays three in four nights.

For quotes from the players be sure to check out Ranger Rants where Andrew Gross does a great job as always.

Updates on Fedotenko, Gaborik, Staal and McCabe Rumors

For those expecting concrete news to come out of today’s New York Rangers practice you will be sadly disappointed as the day had more of a dump it deep in the zone and wait until tomorrow to see if they can chase it down feel to it.  There are updates for Ruslan Fedotenko, Marc Staal and Marian Gaborik to sift through though.

In the good news department, Ruslan Fedotenko took part in practice again today, this time with some contact and battling.  Signs point to a return in the very near future, with it being possible for tomorrow night against Washington, but they will not know that for sure until tomorrow morning according to Tortorella.  During practice he skated along with Avery, Newbury and Prust.  Getting Fedotenko back would be a huge lift for the club as they are only 5-8-1 since he sprained his shoulder on January 19th and then had his recovery sidetracked by an emergency appendectomy.  If people did not appreciate how important Fedotenko was to the forecheck while he was in there they certainly are aware of it now.

In other positive news, Jesse Spector of the Daily News reports that Marian Gaborik is said to be feeling better, but that coach Tortorella was unsure if he was symptom free.  The team ran some blood work on Gaborik to see if there was any deficiencies in the results, but the coach was not sure what they were looking for and the results had not come back yet to his knowledge.

Now that you have been built up with good news it is time for the potentially bad news of the day.  Marc Staal, who twisted his knee Tuesday against Carolina, sat out practice today, and is said to be having soreness in the knee.  The main complaint though according to Jim Cerny, is about a lack of strength that he feels in the knee.  Staal will test it out tomorrow morning to see if he can go, but Andrew Gross labeled him as “iffy” for tomorrow’s contest against Ovechkin at the Capitals.

No doubt that missing Staal in the lineup would be a huge loss for the defense core, but it might be better to sit him for a game than push him back when he is not ready to go and risk prolonging the issue.

There were a couple of playful stories relayed out by the beat writers that involved Marc Staal today.  The first was how he was getting flak from the guys in the locker room, especially Martin Biron, for not practicing today.  The other was about Staal refuses to call his mother right now and is keeping communication strictly text based while she “cools down.”

Jesse Spector passes along these quotes:

“I have not talked to my mom about it yet,” Marc said. “She’s given me a few text messages, but I haven’t spoken too her on the phone. Not until I let her calm down. That’s probably the worst conversation out of the (family).”

Finally in the never ending trade rumor saga of close but not done there is another rumor about how Bryan McCabe could be on his way to New York shortly.  This one is passed along by Miami Herald sportswriter George Richards on his blog, On Frozen Pond, who says that the deal is close to being finalized.  Like with all rumors they are just that until it is actually done.  McCabe still has not waived his no-movement clause and he was on the team flight to Atlanta this afternoon, which does not preclude the deal from happening, but might eliminate a little of the immanency.

Fedotenko Having Appendix Removed

In some rather startling news, Peter Botte is reporting that injured winger Ruslan Fedotenko is having his appendix removed today. His original time table was to return sometime next week, but with this appendectomy (which I am assuming is an emergency appendectomy) he will be out for 3-4 weeks. It is unlikely he will return before the trade deadline now. Hope the surgery goes well.

Rangers Getting Good Health News For A Change

As I relayed earlier, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi were both back at practice as expected and both will play tomorrow against the Penguins.

Following the good news of Brandon Dubinsky, Erik Christensen and Vinny Prospal all taking part in a full practice there is even more positive news for the three of them in terms of return dates or at least timetables.

The only one certain at the moment is Vinny Prospal. Vinny is a definitely for Thursday and is apparently only being held until then so that he can get in two more full practices for conditioning purposes.  It is still completely unclear what, if anything, can be expected of Prospal considering his age, the injury and the fact he has not played a game in 10 months.  All of that said, I still expect Prospal to get a shot to play with Gaborik immediately, whether at center or on the wing.

Brandon Dubinsky was back on skates today for the first time since he was taken out of the lineup with a stress fracture in his leg.  Dubinsky took part in hard conditioning skate, rest, and then full practice and was said to be feeling good.  He would rule himself out for tomorrow’s game and that it would depend on how the leg responds in the morning.  Jesse Spector tweeted John Tortorella having similar thoughts on Dubinsky in not ruling him out and that if he is pain free he will likely play.

In terms of Christensen and Fedotenko, Darren Dreger tweeted that EC could be back by Saturday and that Fedotenko could be ready within 10 days.

Amazing how all of these guys could be getting healthy basically all at once.  This is great news for the team and the depth of the club, but also means that roster decisions will need to be made both in terms of lines and who plays/sits.

To remind everyone, here are the lines from earlier

Avery-Anisimov-Gaborik
Wolski-Stepan-Callahan
Zuccarello-Boyle-Prust
Grachev-Newbury-Drury

My thoughts on these lines can be found in that same article linked at the top.

If Dubinsky plays these lines will likely change with Avery being the obvious candidate to move down to the fourth line and Grachev sits out.  There could be other shuffling going on with the top three lines depending on if coach Tortorella wants to put Callahan and Dubinsky back together or even reunite the full line of Dubinsky, Anisimov and Callahan.

The only other lineup spot that is not sure is on defense as coach Tortorella would not rule out playing Michael Del Zotto tomorrow despite the fact that Dan Girardi will play.  This would mean someone else would sit, but there will be more on that tomorrow.

Kolarik, Dupont Recalled; Fedotenko Injured

Last night, MSG announced during the Rangers 7-0 drubbing of the Leafs that Chad Kolarik had been called up to replace the injured Brandon Dubinsky. Kolarik has 13 goals and 23 points in 26 games since being acquired for Dane Byers earlier in the season. Kolarik, 24, was a 7th round pick in 2004, and has played in just two NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season.

During last night’s game, Ruslan Fedotenko took a hit from Mike Komisarek and suffered a sprained shoulder. He will be out 2-4 weeks. The Rangers recalled Brodie Dupont to replace Fedotenko. Dupont, 23, was a 3rd round pick by the Rangers in 2005, and has been in the Rangers system for the past three seasons. This year, DUpont has eight goals, 20 points, and 54 PIMs in 40 games. Dupont generally averages 40 points per season with 100+ PIMs.

Kolarik has an offensive touch to his game, which will be needed with Dubinsky, the Rangers leading scorer, out for a while. Dupont fits more of the bottom-six forward mold, with added toughness. With Dale Weise, Kris Newbury, and Mats Zuccarello-Aasen already on the roster, the Rangers now have five forwards who started the season in Hartford on the roster. All those years of minimal injuries have caught up with the Rangers. Consider this to be regression to the injury mean.

The Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust Show

Throughout the myriad of injuries the Rangers have sustained to their forward depth, there has been only one constant: the third line of Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, and Brandon Prust. When Marian Gaborik, Erik Christensen, and Ryan Callahan went down with injuries, and the rest of the lines were jumbled to try and find something that worked, this line stayed the same. They have simply become the most consistent Ranger line this season, and it showed last night. Coach John Tortorella puts so much trust in the trio, that they were matched against the Sedin line for almost every single second they were out there. Not sure if you noticed, but they were damn successful too.

What may have escaped several people is that this third line led comprised three of the top four time-on-ice leaders from last night’s game. Only Brandon Dubinsky (second in TOI, with 18:50) cracked the top-four (Fedotenko – 19:30, Boyle – 18:35, Prust – 17:53). To put things in perspective, Gaborik finished with 17:06 TOI. That’s a big chunk of ice time to be giving a third line that consists of two journeymen and an underachieving first round draft pick from that epic 2003 class. All three have put in the effort required to not only make the team, but to get bumped to the third line and play significant minutes against the opponent’s best lines.

In fact, looking at the QUALCOMP numbers (quality of competition faced), this third line is right up there with the Callahan, Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov line in regards to quality of competition faced among forwards, which is the highest on the team*. They are 3rd (Fedotenko), 5th (Boyle), and 6th (Prust) in QUALCOMP, with the aforementioned “Pack Line” holding spots (1st, 4th, 2nd respectively). That speaks volumes to the trust put into this line, and the results given by what has become one of the best third lines in the NHL.

In past seasons, the Rangers third line was the last line of defense before the “dreaded fourth line” came out on the ice. It was generally a spot to place players that had a spot in the future of the organization, but weren’t ready to crack the top-six yet (Dubinsky, Callahan). This year, the third line is a weapon, and has at least two players that will (likely) continue to play with the team in the near future. The line can score (Boyle is 2nd on the team in goals), the line can play defense, they can grind, they control the puck, they play the boards, they kill penalties, they play on the powerplay. They have become a backbone for this Rangers club, and a lead-by-example group that leaves it all out on the ice. In short, this third line does it all.

*-Not including those who haven’t played a full season, like Jeremy Williams and Evgeny Grachev.

Tough Decisions Looming When Drury Returns

For all intents and purposes, Rangers captain Chris Drury has missed the entire season to date with a broken finger. The news came last week that Drury’s return is going to be delayed until at least next week because he is still having trouble gripping a stick. Drury has spent the entire season on long term injured reserve, and thus the Rangers have had some cushion in the salary cap to keep 13 (and sometimes 14) forwards and 7 defensemen with the club. That changes when Drury returns, as he will need to be activated from LTIR, and that cushion disappears.

When that cushion disappears, it is all but a certainty that Todd White will be sent to the Connecticut Whale. White has been waived twice thus far this year, and will likely be waived again in the coming days, as his 30 day window has expired since the last time he was waived. White’s cap hit of $2.375 million clears enough room for the Rangers to get back under the cap when Drury’s $7.05 million cap hit is re-activated. It shouldn’t be a surprise that White will be sent to Hartford, considering the dual waiving and his inability to not only crack the lineup, but remain in the lineup for a consistent period of time.

The demotion of White is the easy decision for the Rangers. The tough decision is deciding who will replace White in the press box once Drury returns. There are a few candidates for the healthy scratch, and there are legitimate reasons for scratching each of them:

  • Derek Boogaard: The Rangers enforcer isn’t exactly the best skater in the world, and he doesn’t bring much to the table other than the intimidation factor. Considering the upcoming schedule against some very skilled teams, it is likely that Boogaard will be scratched for a handful of those games.
  • Alex Frolov: Frolov is doing his best Chris Higgins impression this year. It’s not that he’s been bad, he just can’t seem to score. He has been effective at bringing the puck into the offensive zone, but he always winds up behind the net trying a wrap around. Maybe a trip to the press box for a game or two will remind him to shoot the puck before he gets behind the net.
  • Erik Christensen: Naturally, I’m going to mention Christensen here. Christensen may have 11 points, but 5 of them have come in two games against terrible teams (Edmonton, Islanders). He has just 6 points in the other 26 games he has played this year, and this is with significant time on the top line with Marian Gaborik. Christensen is very skilled, but skilled doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t scoring. The difference between him and Frolov is that Frolov at least plays decent defense.
  • Ruslan Fedotenko: Fedotenko is in the middle of an eight game scoreless drought after netting five points in his previous three games. Fedotenko is another one of those players who does other things to make up for his lack of production, but he does have 11 points this year while playing predominantly on the third line. A game or two as a scratch might wake him up a little bit.
  • Derek Stepan: This one is a long shot, but Stepan could wind up playing in Connecticut as well if Rangers brass decides to go with the old adage of salary over performance. Stepan is on this list because the Rangers history with playing salary over those deserving isn’t pretty. This one is very unlikely, but it’s worth mentioning.

So that I’m not leaving you guys to guess on your own, I think Drury will be re-inserted as a permanent figure in the lineup, and Boogaard and Christensen will be rotating as the healthy scratch. Christensen provides some extra offensive punch against the skilled teams, while Boogaard will definitely be a physical force against teams like the Flyers.

Fedotenko In, Callahan Out Tonight (Update: White Waived)

As per Andrew Gross, Ryan Callahan will be out tonight, likely dealing with the effects of the boarding he took from Kimmo Timmonen last night. Both players were racing for the puck in the corner, and Timmonen let Callahan skate by, and gave him a little “help” in going head first into the boards. Naturally, there was no penalty call there.

Ruslan Fedotenko will be in tonight, despite getting leveled by a dirty Dan Carcillo hit. Luckily for Fedotenko, Carcillo is soft. Of course, there was no penalty there either, and it looks like there won’t be a suspension either.

Update 12:30pm: Todd White has been waived again, as per Nick Kypreos. I had a quick Twitter discussion with Jim Cerny, who shed some light on the matter. White can still play tonight in place of the injured Callahan, even if he is on waivers. White was waived at the beginning of the year, and reached the 30 day mark where he needed to be waived again. His salary does not come off the books unless he is claimed or sent to Hartford.

Rangers Sign Ruslan Fedotenko

The Rangers have come to terms with Ruslan Fedotenko, who came to camp on a professional tryout. Fedotenko impressed management, coaching, teammates, and fans with his camp and preseason play. Fedotenko led the Rangers in scoring (1 G, 6 A) in his five preseason games, finishing with a +5 rating. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet. Larry Brooks is reporting the deal to be worth approximately $1 million.

Update 2:10pm: Multiple beat writers are confirming this is a one year, $1 million deal.

Could Derek Stepan Decide Ruslan Fedotenko’s Fate?

When the Rangers made their second round of cuts, they left 27 players in camp, for what we now know will be 23 (24 if you include Drury on IR) roster spots. Working with the 24 players that will be kept, there are very few spots left on the roster to be had. Of these 24 spots, seven will go to defensemen, and two will go to goaltenders, leaving 15 spots for forwards (including Drury). With what appears to be 11 forward spots locked up, assuming Erik Christensen and Brandon Prust are locks, there are five forwards battling for the final two spots on the roster.

The forward battle is a much more complicated battle than defense because of Chris Drury’s status, and the number of NHL forwards left for so few spots. With five forwards (Brian Boyle, Ruslan Fedotenko, Todd White, Derek Stepan, Tim Kennedy) battling it out for the final two spots, it is likely that the third and final cut won’t occur until Drury returns from his broken finger. Thus, the Rangers will likely make two cuts at forward after tonight’s game, and a third a few games into the season, leaving 14 total forwards once Drury returns. The only forward of that group that simply has not impressed is White. It’s not that he’s playing poorly, it’s just that he seems relatively invisible. If White is one of the cuts, that leaves four guys remaining for that final cut.

I’ve already drawn the ire of a lot of Ranger fans (and a lot of Penguins fans) for my defense of Ruslan Fedotenko, and I’m about to draw this ire again. Personally, I believe Fedotenko has played very well, and has earned a spot on the roster for a year, but that’s not where I’m headed with this. I believe that Fedotenko’s fate is no longer in his own hands. His fate lies in the hands of Derek Stepan, and how well he rebounds after a mediocre game in Detroit on Sunday. Stepan has proved he has top line center potential. Should Stepan rebound and have a stellar game, it looks like he will remain with the club until Drury comes back, and probably longer. If that is the case, then it is likely that Fedotenko will be cut, as he simply would not have a place on the team that already has an abundance of third and fourth line players under contract.

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