Monday, December 26, 2011

Rangers Blank Isles 3-0, Move Into First Place of Eastern Conference

With the Boston Bruins off tonight, the Rangers officially moved into first place in the Eastern Conference tonight with their 3-0 victory over the Islanders. The Rangers got two big goals from Carl Hagelin and Marian Gaborik added an empty netter to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.

Rangers Host Islanders Tonight at 7 p.m.; Wolski, Staal Close to Returning

The Rangers and Islanders will get it on at the Garden tonight, as the Atlantic Division-leading Rangers look to push their current winning streak to five games. Including tonight, the Rangers have three more games before their showdown with the Flyers in next Monday's Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eminger Out 8-10 Weeks, Woywitka Day-to-Day; Bickel, Erixon Recalled

Just when we thought the Rangers couldn't possibly be cursed with any additional injuries, along came Saturday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Steve Eminger separated his shoulder after he was checked awkwardly into the boards, and Jeff Woywitka injured his left ankle while blocking a shot in the game. Eminger, who won't require surgery according to John Tortorella, will be out eight to 10 weeks, while Woywitka is "iffy" for tomorrow night's  game in New Jersey and is day-to-day.

Following the injuries to both defensemen the Rangers recalled defensemen Stu Bickel and Tim Erixon, although originally Bickel was the only one recalled. My guess is that John Tortorella originally wanted a right-handed shot to replace Eminger in the lineup, and once they determined yesterday that Jeff Woywitka might be a no-go for tomorrow, they recalled Erixon.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rangers vs. Coyotes Tonight at 8 p.m.

The Rangers are back in action tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes as their road trip continues, and Mike Rupp is expected to be back in the lineup tonight for the first time since he was sidelined with a torn meniscus in his left knee on Oct. 24. The Rangers haven't officially confirmed that Rupp will dress tonight, but it's fully expected that he will be in the lineup following yesterday's news that the Rangers reassigned defenseman Tim Erixon to the Connecticut Whale, presumably to clear cap space for Rupp's impending activation of injured reserve.

John Tortorella didn't say whether or not there would be any other lineup changes for tonight's game. You would think the logical choice is to put Sean Avery back in the lineup considering how flat the team has looked the last two games and to hopefully provide a spark of energy, but we all know that Torts doesn't always make the most logical choices when they're concerning No. 16. Chances are that Avery will be a healthy scratch once again, and either John Mitchell or Erik Christensen will be joining him in the press box to make room for Rupp's return.

If I had to guess on the lines tonight, I would assume they'll be:


Henrik Lundqvist is also expected to start in goal barring anything unforeseen, as the Rangers will look to snap a two-game losing streak.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rangers Fall To Blues 4-1

The Rangers lost to the St. Louis Blues tonight by a score of 4-1, and were really outplayed from start to finish.

If you missed the game today - well, then lucky you. Right from the beginning the Rangers just looked completely mismatched and were lacking energy. It really wasn't until the third period when the Rangers really had sustained offensive pressure in the Blues' zone, and the game actually could've looked much worse if the Rangers had any other goalie besides Henrik Lundqvist in goal for them. John Tortorella juggled his lines a lot as the game went on in hopes of finding something to spark the team (including reuniting Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards on the same line), but nothing worked.

Click below to read my notes on tonight's game.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thoughts On First Episode of HBO's 24/7

The first episode of 24/7: The Road to the Winter Classic, which documents both the Rangers and the Flyers leading up to their Jan. 2 showdown in this season's Winter Classic, debuted on HBO tonight. I've been eagerly anticipating this documentary ever since the Rangers were first announced as a participant in the Winter Classic, and the show certainly did not disappoint.

Click below to read my thoughts on the first episode of 24/7 and what I liked/didn't like about it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Artem Anisimov Joins Twitter, List of Rangers Players on Twitter

As we wait for tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers confirmed this morning that Artem Anisimov has joined Twitter. In case anyone wants to give him a follow, his username is @Anisimov42.  He's only Tweeted once so far and it was in Russian: Три Мушкетера это сила. According to Google Translator, that translates into: "The Three Musketeers is a force." Maybe he's referencing the fact that all members of the G.A.S. line are now on Twitter?

Also, I know I'm late on this, but Henrik Lundqvist also joined Twitter last week and he's actually been Tweeting quite frequently.

Anyway, here's a list of all the Rangers that are now on Twitter for those interested in following them:

Artem Anisimov - @Anisimov42
Sean Avery - @imseanavery
Marty Biron - @MartyBiron43
Brandon Dubinsky - @BDubi17
Marian Gaborik - @MGaborik10
Henrik Lundqvist - @HLundqvist30
Ryan McDonagh - @RMcDonagh27
Brandon Prust - @BrandonPrust8
Brad Richards - @BRichards_1991
Derek Stepan - @DerekStepan21
Wojtek Wolski - @WojtekWolski86

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Michael Sauer Day-to-Day with Concussion

Well, it's what we feared, Rangers fans. John Tortorella confirmed at practice today that Michael Sauer has been diagnosed with a concussion and is officially listed as day-to-day. Sauer is at the very least out for tomorrow's game, although the Rangers aren't expected to recall another defenseman from the Connecticut Whale. That means Anton Stralman will be in the lineup for just the second time this season and will be paired on the 3rd defense pairing with Jeff Woywitka, while Steve Eminger will move up to the second pairing with Michael Del Zotto (who, by the way, practiced today and is fine after briefly leaving the game in the third period on Monday after going head first into the boards while trying to touch up for an icing).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Injury Updates on Sauer, Del Zotto

The Rangers lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 last night, but the bigger concern was the possibility of them losing both Michael Sauer and Michael Del Zotto long-term due to injuries. Sauer was rocked on a huge hit along the boards from Dion Phaneuf (it was a clean hit, by the way) and looked to hit his head on the boards as he was going down to the ice, losing his helmet in the process. Just a few minutes later, Del Zotto got tangled up with David Steckel going after the puck to touch up for an icing and he took an ugly spill head-first into the boards. Del Zotto looked banged up and seemed to have jarred his shoulder, but he returned a few minutes later. Sauer, however, did not.

The Rangers had no official update on either player today since the team was off, but Larry Brooks wrote in the New York Post this morning that "it's likely that [Michael Sauer] sustained a concussion" on the hit from Phaneuf. Needless to say, hopefully that's not the case. Sauer has been a gigantic part of the Rangers' defense ever since he made the team last year out of training camp, and his role has only grown even more with Marc Staal out. If it is indeed a concussion, there's no telling when we'll see Michael Sauer again since, as we've seen with Staal, the recovery process is completely unpredictable. John Tortorella didn't have an update on Sauer after the game last night, but I expect we'll hear more on him tomorrow at practice.

As for Del Zotto, he spoke to the media following the game last night and, courtesy of Andrew Gross, confirmed that he was just banged up from the collision, so it doesn't look like he'll miss any time. Del Zotto said that the play was a good example of why he believes the NHL should change to the no-touch icing call that they have in Europe. The play Del Zotto got hurt on was simply a bang-bang play with him and Steckel both racing for the puck, and most times when they happens the ending isn't pretty. But the good news here is that Del Zotto seems to be fine.

If Sauer is out for an extended period of time, I expect that means we'll be seeing a lot more of Anton Stralman, who has appeared in just one game with the Rangers this season (a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers back on Nov. 23) since signing a one-year deal with the team in early November. The Rangers simply don't have any other better alternatives right now. The only kid who the Rangers may have even considered would have been Tim Erixon, but he's been out with an undisclosed injury since last Wednesday for the Connecticut Whale. And let's face it - if the Rangers thought they had anyone else better than Stralman, they wouldn't have signed him in the first place.

We'll see what happens from practice tomorrow. At the very least I would expect Sauer to be out of the lineup Thursday, but maybe the Rangers can have some luck go their way and his head injury won't turn out to be serious.