The dreaded "lower body injury"...

Henrik Lundqvist made i through the Olympics and is getting a little rest... Marian Gaborik of course... did not. He left Slovakia's loss to the Canadiens last night in the second period with a lower body inury. Being that no one has said he was reinjured, this is something new... or old depending on how you look at. It could be his groin (awesome).

The Rangers have also claimed Goaltender Alex Auld from the Dallas Stars on re-entry waivers. He became expendable with the addition of Kari Lehtonen and also because the Stars didn't want to carry 3 goalies.

More on Gaborik (the whole team) as it becomes available...


(Sather Really Knows What He's Doing!)

*** Parenthesis means sarcasm from now on

The Rangers face the Penguins tonight in Pittsburgh. They're coming off a very disappointing 2-1 l0ss to Nashville the other night.

"We need to play hard. I'm not going to get into defining how. That's between the team and I," Coach John Tortorella said yesterday. They haven't seemed to listen to him all year. Let's see if the latest pep talk does anything.

The hits keep coming from GM Glen Sather as he continues to show he doesn't understand the value of players. $1.4 a year Donald Brashear has been placed on waivers. He's been utterly useless and still has another year on his deal, meaning it's not likely anyone picks him up.

*** Update: Brashear clears... (big surprise)

The Olympic roster freeze kicks in at noon today and the Rangers should be sellers. They're going nowhere and I'm not sure what anyone would want from this team other than Brandon Dubinsky, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal or Marian Gaborik and it's not likely any of them move. I would give up Dubinsky to a team provided they take Wade Redden or Chris Drury. They don't even have to give anything back... just take them.

We'll see if Sather can fix more of his mistakes today... but don't hold your breath. Updates throughout...

The swelling in Gaborik's leg is down. He will test it in practice to see if he can go tonight. It doesn't seem likely being that he has 21 stitches in his leg... This will be the last regular season appearance for the Rangers at the Igloo.


Gaborik Injured...

Marian Gaborik was injured toward the end of practice today. Apparently he tried to jump over Henrik Lundqvist's outstretched leg in a breakaway drill. You really can't make this stuff up. Gaborik limped off the ice and received stitches. It hasn't been determined if he'll play against Nashville tomorrow.


Get it done...

Turns out my proposed deal would've gotten it done. Ilya Kovalchuck was moved tonight... to the Devils... for nothing. The Devils gave a bottom 4-6 defenseman with a third or fourth line forward, a prospect and a draft pick and that got it done. Niklas Bergforss, Johnny Oduya, Patrice Cormier and a draft pick is all it took to get one of the most explosive forwards in the NHL. They'll have him for a few months as there's no way he signs in Jersey.

For the Rangers, they continued losing. They finally figured out a way to score but their goaltender decided not to show up tonight. Henrik Lundqvist returned from being sick and gave up two questionable goals to Alexander Ovechkin and one to Tom Poti. The Rangers held a 5-3 lead late in the second only to lse 6-5. Simply unacceptable but for a team going nowhere... I guess it's par for the course.

The Blueshirts went ahead 2-1 in the first on a power play goal by Ryan Callahan and a goal by Vinny Prospal. Mike Knuble and Alex Ovechkin responded in the second putting the Caps up 3-2. The Rangers then responded with 3 power play goals by Olli Jokinen (first as a Ranger), Vinny Prospal and Brandon Dubinsky. A 5-3 stranglehold would be critical going into the third... but they blew it. With under :10 to go in the secong Michal Rozsival was simply afraid of Ovechkin, as was the King. Alex the Great put a one handed effort somehow over Lundqvist and won the game in the second.

I say he won the game because the Rangers didn't show up for the third. They simply waited for the game to be taken from them and it was. A 5-3 lead turns into a 6-5 loss in the blink of a eye. A season high 4 power play goals... completely useless. They skated with the best tonight but were clearly not on the same rink... and they won't be. Kovalchuk may have helped this team but he is gone. As is any excitement that may have been generated toward this team. They simply dont have the firepower to do anything this year.

Vinny Prospal had 2 goals and 2 assists... The Rangers power play got going with 4 goals... Niklas Backstrom was incredible with a goal and 5 assists... the Caps have won 12 straight.

The Kovalchuk Kompetition...

There's are 5 or so teams that seem to be in on the Ilya Kovalchuk trade talks. The Rangers may be one of them and Devils may be another. The Islanders were also talked about. Thrashers GM Don Waddell wants NHL ready players and possibly a prospect or draft pick for Kovalchuk. Complicating matters, no team would can negotiate with Kovalchuk prior to him being part of their team. Quite a gamble considering he could just walk at the end of the season.

Kovalchuk already has turned down a 12 year deal for over $101 million according to a statement just released by Waddell:

TSN's Bob McKenzie is also reporting the Russian scoring machine wants the league max of $11.2 a year. That brings us to the Rangers and the salary cap disaster built by GM Glen Sather. The way I see it, if Chris Drury ($3 million tops), Wade Redden ($3 million) and Michal Rozsival ($2 million) were making what they should, that's over $10 million to work with. Would have been more if they let Rozsival go, which any team would have done with a player his age coming off hip surgery. But they didn't... so where's the money for this guy?

If we continue to dream, let's come up with a scenario. Waddell would demand one of Dan Girardi, Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan. I'd give two of them in Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi. You may then be able to force Waddell to take Rozsival. If he wants a draft pick, throw it in there. The Rangers are going nowhere and have nothing but the same type of player on it (Drury, Dubinsky, Callahan... etc.). Those worried that Dubinsky could be a future Captain of this team... forget it. He's a second to third line player at best which I talked about all summer. Marc Staal is the future of the team.

This is the most boring team in the NHL. It sure would be nice to see Ilya Kovalchuk in a #17 Blueshirt. I'd give them whatever they want aside from Staal. Well it was nice to dream the impossible... but this financially cannot happen. Oh well... now I must prepare to watch an exciting team for once with Alex Ovechkin's Caps coming in. Maybe I won't fall asleep during the game after all....


Just weird...

Well after the trade made news on Sunday, it finally went through early Tuesday morning. The Rangers traded Ales Kotalik (3 years at $3 million) and Christopher Higgins to Calgary for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust.

Kotalik started off a house on fire this year with 12 points in his first 12 games only to sizzle out. He's been a healthy scratch for 8 of the last 9 games. Kotalik wound up with 8 goals and 14 assists in 45 games. He was also a minus 18 which is stellar. Higgins worked hard but has been snake bitten all year. Just 6 goals and 8 assists to go with a minus 9.

Jokinen will be the first number 1 type center to play with Marian Gaborik this year. Gaborik is the whole team so you might as well build around him. Jokinen's $5.25 million dollar salary also is up at the end of the year. Jokinen has a pretty bad reputation of not being a team guy but he could put up number playing alongside Gaborik. It's hard not to except for the guys on this team. The underachieving Jokinen is now third in Ranger scoring with 35 points. GM Glen Sather has tried to fix ANOTHER one of his free agent signing disasters and something tells me he's not done. He wants Ilya Kovalchuk... who wouldn't?

To be honest I'm more excited about Brandon Prust, who is second in the NHL with 18 fighting majors... it's about time. Aaron Voros has tried to be the enforcer when he plays but he can't fight. Donald Brashear should retire so there pretty much has been no one to defend anyone the whole year. Prust is a good middle weight fighter who will hopefully infuse some life into this lackluster lineup.

Sather has built a disaster. Every free agent contract he's given out has been awful except for Marian Gaborik. Has there been another free agent signing in the last 10 years you can remember that was good? I can't... Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Bobby Holik... those were great ones. Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, Donald Brashear... the list goes on.

The greatest part of this story is that although no one in their right mind would have paid a player like Kotalik $3 million... Sather somehow did it AND gave a 3-team no trade clause. Are you kidding me? Calgary was on that list... guess that worked out for you Ales... have fun bud...


He's just the man...

It's no surprise the Rangers' five-game losing streak came in conjunction with them not standing up for each other as a team. Daniel Girardi stood by and let Marian Gaborik get pummeled by Flyers enforcer Dan Carcillo. The team lost that game and 5 more. Without Gaborik, this team would have 5 to 7 victories this year.

Gaborik came up with a natural hat trick to lead the Rangers over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. He literally is the whole team. For the second straight night Henrik Lundqvist sat out while Chad Johnson made a strong bid for his first NHL shutout and ended up with his first win. He played very well especially during a 18 shot barrage in the third.

Ales Kotalik was sent home before the game as GM Glen Sather is trying to move yet another of his free agent mistakes. 3 years at $3 million per has been another disaster just a few months in. Aside from Gaborik's contract, Sather has not given out one that makes sense since before the lockout. It's a constant struggle for this guy to erase his mistakes but then he goes ahead and makes them again (See Donald Brashear, Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, Chris Drury, and Kotalik to name a handful). It's ok though because he has a job for life.

Word on the street is the Rangers are getting ready to send Kotalik and Christopher (another disaster) Higgins to Calgary for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. I'd rather see them trade Kotalik and Higgins for just Prust because he's a tough kid but that can't happen. This deal is in a holding pattern though. The Blueshirts are also heard to be trying to get in on the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. Not sure how that could possibly happen salary cap wise unless Jokinen and his over $5 million per is flipped.