Wow.... Happy New Year!!!

The Rangers showed up last night and glided around, losing every battle in the game and initiating none. The Philadelphia Flyers blew them out 6-0 with Simon Gagne picking up a hat-trick. I didn't feel like writing so take a listen to the new aspect of The Beat....

Ranger-Flyer rant

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Prospal out

Vinny Prospal had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his right knee, which was injured in Saturday night's loss to the Islanders. The Ranger's second leading scorer will be gone for 2-3 weeks. Just what a team struggling with scoring needs.

Christopher Higgins will get a shot with Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik. Ales Kotalik will move up to one of the top 3 lines and Eric Christensen will probably play. He's shown enough to make you want to see more of him but he hasn't gotten a chance to play. Not sure why you'd sign a guy like this if you won't even look at him for more than 5 minutes a game. The power play has been struggling and Christensen has a good shot... why not give him a try? Maybe he gets a chance now in the absence of Prospal.

We'll see where the scoring will come from but it wasn't exactly coming in droves with Prospal out there.


The Islanders just kept coming... well not really but Henrik Lundqvist didn't have enough. The Rangers lost to the Islanders for the second time in 10 days at the Garden, 3-2. The Isles were very good defensively in one of the most boring "rivalry" games I've ever seen. Brandon Dubinsky led the way for the Rangers with 2 goals including the game-tying goal with :47 left. But Kyle Okposo was just better than him on this night.

The MSG crew couldn't stop talking about Okposo's 18-game goal-less streak. They completed their objective of waking him up as he won it in overtime on a weak wrist shot from just inside the blue line. It was a shot that simply has to be stopped by The King. Okposo had a goal and 2 assists and was by far the best player on the ice.

The Rangers showed some good fight being 2-0 and seemingly out of this game. In the end they came up short but stole a point. It's hard to be positive about a loss especially when Christopher Higgins missed a wide open net in overtime. Wide open... unchecked... doesn't even get a shot off.

Michal Rozsival had another 2 assists... Vinny Prospal made a huge play batting the clearing attempt out of mid-air at the blue line prior to the tying goal... Donald Brashear continues to be absolutely useless... Ales Kotalik embarrassed himself on Blake Comeau's short-handed goal taking himself out of position to throw a hit... that never landed. Somehow he was still on the power play unit later in the game... Rangers don't play again until Wednesday in Philadelphia.



The Rangers are on a good streak going and continue to end bad ones. They won their fourth in a row last night beating the Florida Panthers 4-1 last night. Henrik Lundqvist was the focal point again making two sparkling glove saves on Nathan Horthon in the first and Michael Frolik in the third, among others. The King has simply been on fire for the last 10 games or so. He was beaten early ona rebound he had no chance on but stopped the next 33 shots.

As for the streaks ending... Vinny Prospal snapped a 14-game goal-less streak with a power play goal in the second and one in the third. The Blueshirts broke a 5-game losing streak at home and 7 out of 8 with a complete effort last night. Chris Drury scored his third goal in four games and was fantastic all around. Enver Lisin made great hustle play to negate an icing before feeding the Captain in the slot to tie the game just 2:13 after Victor Oreskovich opened the scoring for Florida. Drury also added an assist after stealing the puck short-handed in the neutral zone. Drury was taken down but rewarded for his effort when Marian Gaborik came flying off the bench to beat Tomas Vokoun on a bad angle back-hander. Gaborik who leads the league with 26 goals.

Ryan Callahan is scoring again and had a beautiful assist on Prospal's first goal. His stick was tied up in front so he kicked it to Prospal. Callahan has 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 7 games. Hey... Wade Redden even tried to hit a player. He got laid out by Mike Duco but oh well... at least he tried. Redden did make a great play earlier in the first sliding to take away a 2-on-1 opportunity. Michal Rozsival has been much better since Redden was sat down and played well again despite not being able to clear the rebound on Florida's only goal. He played 23:18, second only to Staal's 24:50.

Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were reunited for the first time since the Detroit game and absolutely shut down the red hot Michael Frolik-Stephen Weiss-Nathan Horton line. The bottom line is when this team gets a complete effort, they look like a team that can make some noise. Can they keep the effort going? We'll see on Saturday when the Islanders return to the Garden. That last 2-1 loss the to the Isles and meeting after seems like the wakeup call this team needed.

For the second straight game the Rangers responded to a goal against quickly. Marian Gaborik scored in Raleigh :28 after the Hurricanes had taken the lead... Brandon Dubinsky looks to be getting his legs back with 3 points in the last 2.


Gilroy back...

The Rangers have a 2-game winning streak and that's due mostly to the play of Henrik Lundqvist. Chris Drury and Artem Anisimov both scored again on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 2-1 win. Drury has handled his demotion to the fourth line with class, shutting his mouth and scoring in consecutive games. But the King continues to be the story as he was simply incredible stopping 36 shots.

Coach John Tortorella had some harsh words before the game. "There's going to be no entitlement around here and I think that's what kind of stinks of that around here." He added, "We'll go through some bumps in the road with kids, but not with underachieving veterans." It's about time.

Michal Rozsival must be listening as he had the best effort he's had in a while... no one better than him at being an 'underachieving veteran'. Marc Staal played over half the game (30:45) basically because Bobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikkinen barely played. They were both sent down after the game while Matt Gilroy was called back up. That obviously means Wade Redden will be back in the lineup tomrrow night in Raleigh against the Hurricanes. It'll be interesting to see how Redden, who's been a baby so far, will respond.


The Return...

The word in New York yesterday was that if the Rangers had lost the second of their home-and-home with the Islanders, Glen Sather's job could be in jeopardy. Hard not to root for a loss with that news but the Rangers won 5-2.

John Tortorella flipping out may have had something to do with that. He sat Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik in an attempt to wake these guys up. Chris Drury did wake up with his first goal since October 19th. Ryan Callahan continued his hot play with 2 goals and 2 assists (5 goals in last 7). Marian Gaborik assisted on both of Callahan's power play goals and added one of his own. Vinny Prospal fed Gaborik for a one-time canon on a 5-on3. Whenever Tortorella employs the 5 forward look, Prospal and Gaborik always line up on the off point, unable to shoot the puck off the pass. Thankfully for once they switched and the puck was in the net :03 later.

Michal Rozsival led the team with 26:37 of ice time and had 2 assists. Artem Anismov added a beauty in the third going wide and powering his way in front to slam it past Dwayne Roloson. But it was Henrik Lundqvist who set the tone again. The Rangers took two early penalties and were out shot 14-4 in the first. He made the saves he had to and gave the Blueshirts a chance to ease into this one.

So for one day talk of Glen Sather being fired will die down... but hopefully only for a day.

Donald Brashear took another stupid penalty and played only 4:36. Another Sather special at $1.4 a year... Bobby Sanguinetti was shaky playing just 8:46 and did take a penalty... Rangers face the Flyers in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.


Another one...

The Rangers fell again at the Garden 2-1 to the Islanders last night and now have lost 8 of 9 in the World's Most Famous Arena. The good thing for them is they only had to play 2 periods. They didn't show up for the irst at all getting out shot 10-3. They were outworked all night. Strange effort from a team that is now rocking a 5-game losing streak going to the Coliseum tonight.

John Tortorella threatened that change are coming. "There has to be something done and we'll see along the way here before [tonight's] game what we go with." Not sure what there is he could do but one thing I can think of is sitting down Sean Avery. Avery lazily tried to handle a Henrik Lundqvist rebound of a Matt Moulson shot. Problem is Blake Comeau was next to him and literally shot the puck from Avery's stick into the top corner for what became the game winner.

Of course the Rangers got a goal late as you knew they would to get it close. Enver Lisin, who only played 9:14 got the goal.But this team just doesn't have enough. That's thanks to their General Manager Glen Sather, who is responsible for the 5 worst contracts in the history of the sport. Somehow it's never even talked about that he should lose his job.



Despite pumping a season high 48 shots on net against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Rangers only scored 2 goals... again. Marian Gaborik still is the only scorer on the team until you put him in a shootout (1 for 16 in career). The Rangers are now 7-17 after opening 7-1. Yeah I know technically they're 7-14-3 but who cares? Overtime/shootout losses are still losses.

Now enter the Islanders who are supposed to be horrible but have 31 points... just like the Rangers but with a ton cheaper payroll. They're rebuilding but competitive. The Blueshirts are competing sometimes but are not scoring or winning... nice combo. We shall see if the Islanders can bring something out of this team. Rivalries are pretty much dead in this game anyway and even if they weren't, there's no good fighters on either of these teams.

There is some good news in Rangerland in that Brandon Dubinsky is back and Ryan Callahan may be heating up. But a 4-game losing streak can very easily become 6 by tomorrow night if the Rangers can't find a way to score more than 2 a game.

The record is 7-8-1 at home and 7-7-2 on the road.... They've lost 7 of 8 at the Garden and haven't won since Marian Gaborik beat Columbus 7-4 with 4 points... Henrik Lundqvist will start... Bobby Sanguinetti has been called back up.



It's frustrating to watch this team and it was again the other night in a 3-2 loss at the Garden to the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres got 2 goals from fourth liner Patrick Kaleta (never had 2 before in a game), including the game winner on a short-handed breakaway. Henrik Tallinder's clearing attempt skipped past Ales Kotalik, who had an awful night against his former team. He took two penalties and failed to take a third that would have prevented Kaleta from walking in alone... much rather have him take a penalty shot.

It's frustrating because the power play was starting to work again... or Marian Gaborik was starting to work again. He assisted on Ryan Callahan's tying goal in the first and scored his league-leading 22nd shortly thereafter. But there's just not enough on this team. They can't score more than 2 goals. Sound familiar?

Sean Avery, Christopher Higgins, and Marc Staal have all been noticeably better... but they're not scoring. You just can't win if you don't score... period. And with the contractual problems you have on this team, you can't go out and get scoring. Brandon Dubinsky appears close to a return but guess what? He doesn't score either. It'll be interesting to see what happens with this team because right now the season appears over.


Money Talks...

GM Glen Sather has done it again. Instead of sending down Michal Rozsival, who has been utterly useless, he has sent Matt Gilroy to Hartford. The move clears some cap room to get a better look at Ilkka Heikkinen. The bottom line is when you make $5 million a year it doesn't matter how bad you are... Sather will just knock one of the kids down.

Gilroy has not been great as of late. He opened the preseason flying, opened the season cautious, and lately has been unnoticeable. He is a 25-year-old rookie that has been only been playing defense for 4 years though. There must be no time for him to grow with powerhouses like Rozsival and Wade Redden dominating like they do. A mop laying in the defensive zone all game might be better than ol' Rosy. Moving Gilroy comes on the heels of him getting beaten and outworked on both Chicago goals the other night.

Accountability was supposed to be the staple of this team with John Tortorella in town. Is he not able to see what a disaster Rozsival is every night? He made more mistakes than Gilroy the other night that very easily could have led to goals. You know where Rozsival would be if they did? Right on the ice against the Sabres on Saturday night. Even Wade Redden, who has been better this year, still sucks. His deal goes down as one of the worst signings in the history of the league. The team will go nowhere with these two clowns making $11.5 million and that's 4 more years in Redden's case... awesome!

If I was Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival or even Chris Drury I'd be embarrassed that the team can't be good BECAUSE OF ME. Drury is supposed to be a captain and leader. He must know that he is making about $4 million too much right? Imagine if Rozsival was making $2 million (I wouldn't have given him anything), Redden $2 million and Drury $3 max. That's $11.5 million that could be used to get someone good on this team besides Gaborik. But this is pro sports... you take the big money from the Rangers like every other over-the-hill free agent has in the past and accept the boos. Who cares? The people booing don't get to live like you do.


Rangers-Hawks Thread...


Game opens with Michal Rozsival giving the puck away twice for quality scoring chances. Pretty bad turnover by Ales Kotalik leading to Andrew Ladd blowing by Rozsival but Henrik Lundqvist looks sharp.

Vinny Prospal at the end of a shift tried to clear the puck and it took a Ranger bounce to Marian Gaborik. He fed Rozsival who dropped it back to Gaborik and what a pass to Christopher Higgins who buried his second goal in 3 games. Rangers being outshot 16-5.

Rangers lead 1-0...


All Henrik Lundqvist in the second period and little else. Rangers being outshot 14-10 and 30-15 for the game.

Rangers still lead 1-0...


2 huge penalty kills with outstanding work from Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle. Then a ridiculous call on Dan Girardi ultimately doomed the Rangers... for the second time in the game Patrick Kane looks like the most unbalanced skater in the league and falls over. Penalty of course and I wrote this before Chicago just popped it in as you knew they would. Jonathan Toews got it as Brian Boyle just stood there in a goal mouth scramble not picking anyone up.

1-1 as the refs tie it... Just a matter of time before the Hawks win this one... Rangers had no business in this one anyway...

Yep... they lost. Dustin Bfyuglien, a third liner, beats Gaborik and Matt Gilroy up the ice and embarrasses The King. The Rangers did not match Lundqvist's effort and he was pissed, slamming his stick against the glass. He was the only one who played tonight. The funny thing is Gaborik could've caught Byfuglien in his sleep but didn't start skating until the red line. They just find ways to lose and have no one to score... EVER.

Rangers had one shot in the third lose 2-1, as predicted during the game right here... They were outshot 41-18 for the game. What an embarrassment.


The Rangers are in Chicago tonight to take on the Black Hawks who are best in the NHL at home at 11-3-1. A lot of question marks going into tonight and the foreseeable future for this team. Will Wade Redden play? Donald Brashear? Will we get another look at Erik Christensen?

The answer is who cares? None of these players will make any difference and that's exactly the problem with this team. There are no difference makers on it except for Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist. And now with the King faltering and letting in the most ridiculous goals I've ever seen late in games, you're down to one guy.

John Tortorella may want to play up-tempo but he doesn't have the players to do it. Now they just play boring, almost unwatchable hockey and win a few games 2-1 or so. I thought it was Tom Renney's fault but it's Glen Sather's. He built a team with (yes I know this is recurring) 4 marginal players at best taking up $26 million in Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden. He somehow moved Gomez but there is no hope for this team when you are unable to get secondary scoring with no money. Not to mention the millions he threw away on guys like Patrick Rissmiller (3 years at $3 million), Tyler Arnason ($700,000), Aaron Voros (3 years at $3 million) Donald Brashear (2 at $1.4) and now Erik Christensen.

Somehow it's never even mentioned that Sather should be fired. Think about it... $3.4 MILLION on 3 guys that don't play (Brashear, Voros, Rissmiller). At least Voros and Brashear are with the club but they're invisible when and if they play except for always taking dumb offensive zone penalties. I'd love to say the future looks bright but boy... what a disaster.


King Without a Crown..

Maybe he was just tired playing the second night of back-to-backs... maybe he slipped... or maybe he just sucks. Henrik Lundqvist has been staying on his feet more lately and not surprisingly, has been better. The King saved the worst for the last 2:03 when he let up maybe the softest goal I've ever seen from him.

The Rangers lost 3-1 to a Red Wing team decimated by injuries and sits last place on the road in penalty killing. The deciding goal came on a cross ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg to Daniel Cleary, whose shot from about the goal line somehow got through Lundqvist. Kris Draper added an empty netter.

The Blueshirts didn't really go out and try to win this game. They seemed to be waiting to lose. Ryan Callahan missed a penalty shot and Christopher Higgins missed a breakaway. Other than that the power play was dreadful against the league's worst. 3 power plays in the third produced nothing but a few shots and very little set up time. The first unit, which had been so cohesive before John Tortorella started messing with Ales Kotalik, was terrible. The second unit generated a 2-on-1 down low in the third. Higgins fed Sean Avery for a wide open net but he didn't even get a shot off.

Marian Gaborik needs to be able to shoot but had no shots in the game for the first time this season. Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Raflaski had something to do with that but if he doesn't score a point, they have no chance.

Brian Boyle opened the scoring tipping in a Higgins feed after a nice rush. But Jimmy Howard was made to look like Patrick Roy the rest of the way. A little over a quarter of the way through the season, this team appears to be headed nowhere. They are an average team who can't make much noise in the playoffs... if they get there at all.


Back on the horse...

The Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist made a first period goal stand up til :59 left. Fortunately Ryan Callahan had added another one in the third banging in a Sean Avery rebound in a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres last night. The Sabres had been on a four game winning streak.

The first period was extremely boring but ended with Marian Gaborik feeding Christopher Higgins for his 3rd of the season. Gaborik and Artem Anisimov made good defensive plays on Tyler Myers to get the play started. Gaborik has scored points now in 23 of 26 as a Ranger.

The King played the best he's played in a long time aside from the Jason Pominville goal. It was simply a puck that has to be stopped from a terrible angle. Thankfully the Blueshirts still had a goal to play with as they continue to miss open nets. I've never seen a team struggle so mightily to score in an empty net. Brian Boyle and Callahan both missed good chances.

Chris Drury was very good on both sides of the ice and won 13 of his 21 faceoffs. He still has a tendency to make dumb decisions with the puck though as he did on a second period power play. The Buffalo penalty killers were completely out of gas as Drury controlled the puck in the neutral zone. Instead of walking the puck back in he sent it over to his bench where his team was changing. Eventually he got what he was after when the Rangers were whistled for too many men. This could've been a huge turning point but thankfully wasn't.

Ilkka Heikkinen made his debut and played well in 9:27. On his first shift he put a solid shot into Patrick Kaleta in the corner... Erik Christensen made his debut also and was a non-factor... Rangers get right back at it tonight against the Detroit Red Wings at the Garden.


Blockbuster!!! Yeah right...

The Rangers today waived Steve Valiquette and signed Eric Christensen according to Steve Zipay of Newsday. Chad Johnson, who is probably not ready to be up here, was called up to replace Valiquette. So much for Lundqvist not playing as much this year.

No Donald Brashear or Wade Redden at practice today. In Redden's case it's odd because Bobby Sanguinetti was already sent back to Hartford.

As for Christensen, he's another guy like Aaron Voros, Tyler Arnason or Patrick Rissmiller who were signed for no reason other than to waste money. He should contribute nothing and I'm looking forward to that.


Just Not Good Enough...

After winning back-to-back games for the first time since October the Rangers have dropped the next 3. The Penguins got a hat trick from Mike Rupp and 2 more from Sidney Crosby winning 5-2 at the Garden. The only guy playing for the Rangers offensively... AGAIN... was Marian Gaborik. His 2 goals gave him 21 to lead the league and tied him with Joe Thornton for the league lead in points with 37. Imagine if he had some other people on this team...

The officiating was downright embarrassing as it always is with a Sid The Kid game. That is not what doomed the Blueshirts though. What doomed them was Henrik Lundqvist who was awful at a key time again. If you just shoot high on him and hit the net... it's going in 80% of the time. He needs to be good enough to steal some games and he is not able to do that right now. Mike Rupp's go ahead goal in the third simply cannot happen and neither can Crosby's in the first period :11 after Gaborik gave the Rangers the lead.

The Rangers responded, battled and still came up way short as they will continue to do against most decent teams. They're just not built correctly. Brian Boyle made his way back in the lineup and Enver Lisin was out. Ales Kotalik is also in the doghouse. He was not used on the power play and played only 3:14. Donald Brashear was on the third line tonight... are you kidding me?

Somehow I don't think 'ol Glen Sather is going to be able to fix it with a deadline deal. Even if they make the playoffs, this is not the kind of team that can go deep. Right now they're boring to watch... they can't score... and they just suck. Their coach would tell you that too.

The team doesn't play again til Saturday and will have tomorrow off. I'd like to say they need it but they certainly don't deserve it... Bobby Sanguinetti was returned to Hartford meaning Wade Redden should be back against Buffalo on Saturday.