Game Day Musings

Welcome to Thursday. That means it’s almost the end of the week, obviously. It’s a game day and the Rangers are entertaining a surprising and in form Senators tonight. It should be an interesting one. Before today’s focus switches to the pre game build up, let’s saunter through a Musings together.

The fact it’s the Senators tonight brings me to mini rant time. No disrespect to the Senators (it could be any team) but it’s made an absolute farce of the All Star game that they have so many starters in the game. Fan involvement should somehow be incorporated but an All Star game should be the best players, most deserving players and true stars of the game not the likes of Daniel Alfredsson who is there mainly on popularity. Erik Karlsson deserves to go to the game but really, he leads all vote getters? Not right. The format needs to be changed to make the game meaningful or at least eagerly anticipated.

I did chuckle when I read Dion Phaneuf was voted the most overrated player in the league. It says a lot about his (lack of) popularity and standing in the game because he’s a lot better than people are giving him credit for. He’s a good defender who has found his game again this year. Somewhere in Connecticut, Sean Avery is smiling.

So, Stefan Matteau is draft eligible this summer. The USNTDP stand out is going to the QMJHL next season. Naturally, masses of Rangers fans will demand he be drafted regardless of whether he’s the right pick, at the time. Just like Beukeboom’s son who has already been traded and is having a mediocre OHL career. It’s not all about the surname – as Marcel Hossa and Fedor Fedorov will attest.

Ilya Kovalchuk is in great form and the Devils are winning games again. I couldn’t be happier for them. Really. They’re well on their way to becoming the Rangers circa 1997-2003. Not good enough for lottery picks (for a true rebuild) but good enough to be, at best, first round fodder. The Devils are in desperate need for another Adam Larsson or two to put around Kovalchuk. Enjoy mediocrity Jersey.

Recently quite a few Rangers players have cooled offensively making Dubinsky’s health (and relative return to form) that much more important. The Rangers can win close games, low scoring games and can live with the higher scoring teams but it’d be nice to see Anisimov, Stepan, Richards and even Gaborik to an extent start up some streaks again. Oh, and some consistent secondary scoring (Boyle etc) would be nice too.

  • Best mid season defensive addition: Bickel, Stralman or Woywitka?

What has happened to Brandon Prust this year? He’s simply not a factor consistently. His hit total is well down, shooting % well down on his career average and as a result he’s not getting the ice time. It’s a vicious circle but if he can get better (closer to last year) this team gets much deeper.

  • Chris Kreider watch: 24 points in 21 games; goals in every kind of scenario – 3 game winners, 4 Power play tallies and a shorthanded goal.
  • Chris Thomas watch: 37 points in 29 games; 18 goals and 19 assists and a minus 3 rating. In his defence he’s on an at-best-average Oshawa team that is clearly gearing to the future. Thomas could really do with a big end to his season and great camp next year in NY. There’s a lot of competition for spots right now.

I wonder if Steve Eminger has played his last game for the Rangers. Don’t forget he’s got another 6 weeks recovery and has to watch Bickel, Stralman and Woywitka fight it out for bottom pair jobs anyway. There’s a chance Sauer is back well before him too. He may get a conditioning assignment like Christensen and never see NY ice as a Ranger again. It’s a tough way to lose your job if it happens.

Question Time:

  • Bigger disappointment: Brian Boyle or Brand Prust?
  • If one had to be cut loose: Woywitka, Bickel or Eminger?
  • Del Zotto season points total: Over or under 40?
  • Race to 20 goals: Hagelin or Dubinsky?

We’ll end this edition of musings with a rare tip of the Broadway hat to Erik Christensen. He’s unlikely to ever play for the Rangers again but credit where it’s due for getting back on the ice with the Whale and looking to get sharp again. He’s an NHL quality player but simply put, can’t help this Rangers team. If he works his tail off in CT he may get a shot elsewhere. The Whale will hopefully benefit from a motivated, talented player.

P.S. Henrik For Vezina. That is all.

12 thoughts on “Game Day Musings

  • Jan 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Boyle, by a hair.
    Bickel, not really close.
    Over 40, barely. He’ll get enough PP time to get there.
    Neither. Dubi will outscore Hagelin though.

    • Jan 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      I agree with all your points Smurf, other than I’d rather keep Bickel (if he really is in danger of being claimed on waivers) than Eminger because, at least for next season, Bickel could have a future with the club whereas I really don’t think Eminger will be back.

      • Jan 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

        I took it as cut for this season. Agree that Eminger & Woywitka don’t have futures here, but I’m not convinced Bickel does either.

    • Jan 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Agree with Smurf… except on cutting a d-man. I’d cut Woywitka. I have no real grounds for this decision tho. Just firs tone that comes to mind.

      • Jan 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        I’d cut Woywika too. I want to see more of Bickel. He’s looked good, but 10 games isn’t much of a sample.

        • Jan 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

          Agree as well excpet Bickle stays Woy goes.

  • Jan 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Everyone should read the article about Glen Sather in the New York Times today. It really is interesting. He is worried that if they do a trade it will ruin the team chemistry and he thinks that is one reason they are winning so many games.

    • Jan 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      He’s certainly had his finger on the pulse recently. Great example is the contract he gave Girardi which now, at 3.325m/yr, looks like a steal.

  • Jan 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Sadly my opinion is that both Eminger and Woywitka are the odd men out. Stralman has shown chemistry with Del Zotto however at the end of the year he will resign some where else. Bickel is a keeper and for this year I would platoon Stralman and Bickel with Del Zotto. It might be time to think of a package trade with the likes of Eminger, Woywitka, Wolski and Zuccarello plus a few prospects such as Bourque or McColgan and maybe even Fedotenko for assets or picks. I would like to see us move up in the first round of the draft.
    As for players to trade for not many are out there for the right price but if we can steal one then awesome, if not then let’s just make trade for picks.
    Boyle and Prust have not been bitter disappointments however of the two I would say Boyle. Let me make it clear that I am happy with Boyle’s play over all.
    Del Zotto will finish with 46 points and Dubi and Hags will both net in the 16 to 21 range with Dubi the edge. My thoughts to your questions…keep up the great work fella’s

  • Jan 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Boyle’s been more disapointing because Prust can at least fight. I’d cut Woywitka. I say DZ gets around 40-45 points but if he keeps scoring the way he has been, he’ll probably get more. And I say Hagelin and Dubinsky score 20 goals by the end of the year.

  • Jan 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    The Rangers need to package a trade of spare parts (at least “ranger spare parts”) for any type of return to a team that values the abilities of these players

    All of these players should be moved as they will goneformithing at yearned and/ or they do not fit it the Torts system.

    WW EC eminger Woywitka and Avery (clearly this is dreaming)

    The player they need is a 7th bottom 6 forward that fits into the Torts system and is preferably a big body.

    The other intriguing option is to include Stralman on a package to up grade the level or potentially get a higher calibre player but that might prove difficult as he only has a contract for this year. But if there is such a thing as a mid year sign and trade in hockey this is the opportunity to try it.

    I understand the chemistry aspect of a bigger trade, but the Bruins did a nice of researching chemistry and making sound trades

    • Jan 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      Every team could have just signed Stralman and gave up nothing…why would they give up assets now? He has played ok but nothing lights-out. And not really the type of players teams look to add for the playoffs.

      The return we would get for him would not outweigh the value of keeping him as depth this year.

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