With the New Jersey Devils already being the oldest team in the league (the only team whose average cracks 30), according to reports, it appears that they may be willing to go a little bit older, with a reclamation project of sorts, in signing free agent Alexei Yashin, a player who has actually been a free agent in NHL terms for the last five seasons, as he has been playing in Russia ever since he was bought out by his then-current team, the New York Islanders. Though his play was not terrible, he was accused of not trying his hardest on a perpetually mediocre squad, and because of the buyout, will actually still be receiving payment from the Islanders another next three seasons, to the sum of more than $2 million per year. With the Ottawa Senators earlier in his career, he had put up superstar numbers before leaving for Long Island due to a contract dispute. From there, his totals went nowhere but down, which led to his eventual demise. He is now 37 years old and coming off his worst Russian season since he embarked on the journey in 2007.
Hockey fans are always waiting for dominoes to fall during times of player movement, and this year has been no different. The two biggest dominoes that have fallen this off-season so far areand who both decided on moving their talents to Minnesota. Another domino that fans have been waiting to fall for a while is in the trade market with Columbus . However, there is a another player that has only recently become very pronounced, with captain . A few months ago, it was unthinkable that Doan would even consider leaving the franchise he has called home since the beginning of his career, but it is now a very real possibility. With the Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga still unsolved, Shane Doan is thinking of looking to go to places where the grass may be greener…or that even has grass.
The waiting is finally over: the Minnesota Wild have signed both of the NHL’s highly coveted free agents, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, to mega-deals worth $98 million over 13 years. While I would argue against Suter being worth as much as Parise, I suppose it is a rather symbolic gesture that the two American players who probably took so long to sign so they knew for sure that is where the other one was going to go, would receive identical deals. This is a great day for the Minnesota Wild, which has an excellent fan base and atmosphere for hockey. This is a team that has never really succeeded, despite continuing support. They got off to a strong start last season and eventually faded away and out of playoff contention due to poor coaching. Thanks to these signings, though, they are going to be major factors in the Western Conference for many years to come. Throw Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, and to a lesser extent, Devin Setoguchi into the mix, and you have one of the strongest teams in the west.
These past few days have just been up and down with rumors, most revolving around Columbus Blue Jackets’ superstar winger Rick Nash, with nobody seeming to know anything at all about what is really transpiring. But before all of that, we had a couple of big deals, the first being Jeff Carter dealt to Los Angeles by Columbus so he could be re-united with former drinking buddy, err…I mean, teammate from Philadelphia, Mike Richards. The return on the trade was defenseman Jack Johnson and a first round pick. With that, I would say both teams made out rather well. The Blue Jackets get some much-needed offense from the blue line, though Johnson’s defense is anything but solid (I guess you can say he’ll fit right in, then?) as he currently sits at a -12 on the season, and a -90 overall for his career. That’s scary to think about, considering the offense he has put up. Carter, meanwhile, will help a stagnant Kings’ offense, as he will personally be revitalized by playing with a big market team in a city full of night life. You can expect him and Richards to be the bash-brothers they were with the Flyers.
Calling all New York Rangers fans, my friend has sent me a list of tickets for games he has for sale. He is a season ticket holder, but in order to buy Knicks tickets, the money-hungry Madison Square Garden and Co. made him buy a mini-plan, which he has no use for. Below are some games for sale:
Thursday, February 27 vs Los Angeles Kings
Thursday, March 3 vs Minnesota Wild
Tuesday, March 22 vs Florida Panthers
Thursday, April 7 vs Atlanta Thrashers
All seats are in section 114, row F. Price for each pair is $212 (face value) but he said he is willing to take a little bit less. Please contact the seller at Nikolaos.LaTorre@Gmail.com.
Marian Gaborik spent eight seasons with the Minnesota Wild, and in the meantime, set records for virtually every offensive category in the franchise’s history. Aside from Jacques Lemaire, Gaborik was the face of that franchise during his tenure there. Tonight was the first time he would get a chance to face his former team, after being injured last season when the New York Rangers faced them. The promotion for tonight’s game was a Marian Gaborik bobblehead, and although that was to pay tribute to him, the fans were a little less kind, booing his name when it was announced for the starting lineups, and then some additional scattered boos when he touched the puck.
For the Rangers, though, tonight they got a very important and much needed bounce-back victory after playing what was arguably their worst game of the season last night in Colorado. The Rangers would get a solid team effort and pull out a decent 5-2 road win in Minnesota.
The Rangers and Wild got off to a slow start, with an uneventful first period that heard some aforementioned jeers directed at Gaborik. But the player known for his finesse and skill showed a bit of an edge early on, with a big hit just seconds in on Greg Zanon, and another one later on. The Rangers would go 0-1 on the powerplay in the first, continuing their struggles, and leave the period scoreless.
In the second period, the Rangers would blow the game open. Artem Anisimov (7) would score a little less than nine minutes in on assists from Matt Gilroy and Mike Sauer. The Rangers would then get their third powerplay of the game, and snap an 0 for 17 streak when Michael Del Zotto (2) shot the puck into a wide open net past goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Derek Stepan fed him with an excellent cross ice pass to continue his recent hot streak, and Dan Girardi would add a secondary assist on the play. Then with one minute remaining, Dan Girardi would take a shot from the point that missed the net (or was it intentional?) and landed on the tape of Alex Frolov’s (5) stick, who finally succeeded in scoring a wraparound goal, a move he tries at least five times a game to no avail. Marian Gaborik would end up with the secondary assist, his first point against his former team.
Early on in the third, Brandon Dubinsky (12) would pretty much ice the game with an unassisted breakaway goal. Eight minutes later, with the Rangers on another powerplay, the puck would come out of the zone to Kyle Brodziak, who skated over the red line with Del Zotto attempting to hip check him, but missed, allowing Brodziak to come in 2 on 1 with Matt Cullen, who buried the puck behind Martin Biron to get the Wild on the board. The Rangers would quickly counter with a Ruslan Fedotenko (4) goal, off assists from Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust. For Boyle, this would be his first assist of the season, to add to his eight goals. The game would end with the Rangers victorious, in a desperately needed win to stop a losing streak before it could expand.
Martin Biron played decent until the second goal he allowed to the Wild, scored by Martin Havlat. It was from a bad angle and between his glove and the post, and it was one he should have had. Nevertheless, he was solid and did not have to be that good as the Rangers rallied around him and played some good defense. Del Zotto would unfortunately continue his sloppy play, taking a penalty in the third and making a bad decision that directly led to Minnesota’s first goal of the game.
For Marian Gaborik, this was also an important win as he finally got a chance to face his former team. He only had one assist, but played very physical and had four shots on goal. The Rangers will now get ready for a game against the struggling Calgary Flames Monday night. Expect Lundqvist to be in net, after getting the night off tonight.
For John Tortorella, tonight’s game was his 300th NHL win.
For a while I thought about not even doing a post-game recap for tonight’s game. After all, if they didn’t show up, why should I? Nevertheless, I decided to show a little bit more effort than the New York Rangers did in tonight’s horrible and downright lackluster showing against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. I really feel bad for those who have to get up early tomorrow, who stayed up late to watch this disgusting effort.
Though the Rangers were technically tied with the Avalanche for the entire first period, they were never really in this game. They struggled to get simple shots through, let alone create scoring chances. They seemed to be three steps behind Colorado for the whole evening, and looked like they were skating through mud. With the game scoreless heading into the second, David Jones would score for the Avalanche just over a minute in.
From there on out, the “avalanche” of goals came crashing down on the Rangers. Kevin Porter scored six minutes after that, followed by Matt Duchene with just less than eight minutes remaining in the middle period. The third goal would prompt Tortorella to pull Lundqvist and replace him with Martin Biron, who would not fare much better. But Lundqvist was downright awful tonight, as each of the three goals he allowed on 16 shots were questionable, with two of them able to be considered soft.
The Avalanche would then add two more against Biron, one more in the second by Kevin Shattenkirk, a native of New York, and then one by Daniel Winnik in the third. The Rangers would erase Craig Anderson’s shutout with a meaningless goal six minutes into the final frame, when Derek Stepan snapped his 19 game goal scoring drought. He has now put up points in three out of his last four games, and was borderline their best player tonight, though no one stood out in a positive way.
As Brian Monzo said on Twitter, this was just one of those games when you just scratch your head. The Rangers were not just bad, they were awful. There was no flow to their game, and Anderson really only had to make one or two difficult stops the entire night. The Avalanche, meanwhile, did not look too amazing, but due to the fact that the Rangers were skating in circles, it made them look great. Not trying to take anything away from them, that’s just how bad the Rangers were tonight.
The powerplay was also disgraceful, as they went 0-5 and did not generate any scoring chances. I cannot even recall seeing a quality shot on goal during the ten minutes of man advantage time they had. The Rangers are a team that continues to play very streaky—some nights they look amazing, other nights they look like this. Perhaps they could have done without that 8-2 win over the Oilers last Sunday, as that got an awful lot of people excited.
This recap was kind of brief tonight, but there really is nothing left to say. The Rangers need to take a long, hard look at themselves and get their acts together, namely Del Zotto, who was on the ice for all four Colorado goals in the second period. This was both the team’s and his worst game of the season tonight. The Rangers will be in Minnesota tomorrow night to face the Wild in an important bounce-back game. If I were them, I would start Biron over Prince Lundqvist; the team seems to rally better around him.
Glen Sather showed why he is still a competent General Manager with his latest wizardry of a trade. The Rangers ship out two players, who never worked out and who would have never played another game in the NHL for them, to the Atlanta Thrashers for center Todd White.
Many are speculating that the Rangers are going to then waive White to free up cap space and make the move a complete salary dump, but either way, this is great for the Rangers.
Donald Brashear was never going to suit up again for the Rangers after some comments he made towards the end of last season and his subpar play beforehand. Because he is over 35, his contract put the Rangers between a rock and a hard place, as they could not waive him. Rissmiller too never worked out, and he has spent the last two full seasons in the minors, save for two games with the team in 2008.
Should the Rangers decide to keep White, they are getting a decent middle-tier center. He is 35 years old and has 635 games of experience divided between the Thrashers, Senators, Wild, Flyers, and Blackhawks. He also has 140 goals and 239 assists for 379 points.
White is just one season removed from a 73 point campaign where he centered Ilya Kovalchuk. When looking at his full seasons in the NHL, his career low is 29 points, which he reached twice, both last year and in 2003/04, but he was injured in each of those. He has hit the 40 point mark four times, including one 50 point season, and one 60.
There really is no room for Todd White on this roster, and because Dubinsky, Drury, and Anisimov are here to stay, he would only be battling Erik Christensen and Brian Boyle, but Christensen is almost ensured a spot, as well, on the top line with Gaborik.
Clearly Sather has something else up his sleeve. Perhaps another salary dump is yet to come, unless they simply waive White.
Two days ago, Joe and I sat down to chart our predictions. We chose fifty of the top one hundred, and surprisingly, the top ranked Ilya Kovalchuk is still on the market. We still have some names left to sign, and this will be updated every few days throughout the summer to see who had the most correct predictions.
Chart key: Strikethrough means an incorrect prediction, bold is correct, and italics indicates the player has not signed anywhere yet.
1. Ilya Kovalchuk (NJD): Agreed on LAK
2. Sergei Gonchar (PIT): Agreed on SJS
3. Paul Martin (NJD): Agreed on OTT
4. Evgeni Nabokov (SJS): Agreed on WAS
5. Pavel Kubina (ATL): Agreed on ATL
6. Dan Hamhuis (NAS): Greg: VAN; Joe: CLB
7. Anton Volchenkov (OTT): Greg: CAR; Joe: NYI
8. Willie Mitchell (VAN): Greg: VAN; Joe: NJD
9. Zybnek Michalek (PHX): Agreed on PHX
10. Matthew Lombardi (PHX): Greg: PHX; Joe: NYR
11. Alexander Frolov (LAK): Agreed on Europe
12. Teemu Selanne (LAK): Agreed on ANA
13. Chris Mason (STL): Greg: ATL; Joe: PHI
14. Antero Niittymaki (TBL): Agreed on TBL
15. Marty Turco (DAL): Greg: PHI; Joe: SJS
16. Henrik Tallinder (BUF): Agreed on BUF
17. Ray Whitney (CAR): Greg: LAK; Joe: DET
18. Vaclav Prospal (NYR): Greg: NYR; Joe: PHX
19. Lee Stempniak (PHX): Agreed on NYI
20. Matt Cullen (OTT): Agreed on CAR
21. Olli Jokinen (NYR): Agreed on ATL
22. Toni Lydman (BUF): Agreed on BUF
23. Alex Tanguay (TBL): Greg: COL; Joe: VAN
24. Maxim Afinogenov (ATL): Greg: BUF; Joe: CLB
25. Alex Ponikarovsky (PIT): Agreed on TOR
26. Kim Johnsson (CHI): Agreed on Europe
27. Dan Ellis (SJS): Greg: SJS; Joe: MTL
28. Saku Koivu (ANA): Agreed on ANA
29. Joe Corvo (WAS): Agreed on WAS
30. Bill Guerin (PIT): Agreed on PIT
31. Brendan Morrison (WAS): Agreed on WAS
32. Joe Theodore (WAS): Agreed on Europe
33. Colby Armstrong (ATL): Agreed on TOR
34. Derek Morris (PHX): Agreed on PHX
35. Marek Svatos (COL): Agreed on Europe
36. Johan Hedburg (ATL): Greg: NJD; Joe: NYR
37. Martin Biron (NYI): Greg: NYR; Joe: CAR
38. Raffi Torres (BUF): Agreed on BUF
39. Pavol Demitra (VAN): Agreed on ATL
40. Ray Emery (PHI): Agreed on Europe
41. Chris Higgins (CGY): Greg: CGY; Joe: MIN
42. Ruslan Salei (COL): Agreed on Europe
43. Slava Kozlov (ATL): Agreed on Europe
44. Owen Nolan (MIN): Agreed on retiring
45. Mike Modano (DAL): Greg: MIN; Joe: SJS
46. John Madden (CHI): Agreed on NJD
47. Robert Lang (PHX): Greg: PHX; Joe: Europe
48. Ruslan Fedotenko (PIT): Agreed on PIT
49. Alex Auld (NYR): Greg: SJS; Joe: NJD
50. Miroslav Satan (BOS): Agreed on BOS
Predictions made: 50
Signings happened: 22
Greg’s Correct: 7 (32%)
Joe’s Correct: 3 (14%)
Nothing to write home about for either of us, but hopefully our totals will increase as the days move along!
About a half hour ago it was announced that Jody Shelley had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for three years at $1.1 million per. Although I wanted him back, he was not worth that much, not for a 34 year old fighter whose best days are behind him.
With Shelley off the market, the Rangers then went and locked up Derek Boogaard, for four years at $1.65 million per. This is a decent signing by the Rangers, as Boogaard is one of the scariest, and is perhaps the most feared enforcer in the league. He stands 6’8” and will almost be seven feet tall on skates. He also weights 257 pounds. He is a massive physical specimen who runs a fighting school in his hometown. In other words, he knows what he is doing.
Boogaard is also six years younger than Shelley, and is a much better fighter. Just look him up on Youtube, and see some of his utter destruction of opponents.
The money may be a little high, but overall, I like it. No one will be running into Henrik Lundvist this season without paying the price. Stop crying, Rangers fans. Just stop.
And this is just awesome: