Who Knew?

I'll be honest... I gave up on this team, this coach and this General Manager a long time ago. The first two are making me believe again. This team is starting to come together. The fourth line of Brandon Prust, Jody Shelley and Artem Anisimov has been amazing. They've brought excitement back. Coincidence that Sean Avery hasn't been playing for most of this 7-1-1 run?

The game and the team became very boring to me and I was actually rooting for them to lose so they could either get a good draft pick or get Glen Sather fired. I have since realized as Joe Benigno of SNY and WFAN says, Sather will be fired 5 years after he dies.

The Blueshirts battled last night, got the lead, lost the lead, but prevailed. They started down :40 in after a Marc Staal turnover (pretty much the only one I remember him making this year) was converted by Mike Richards. Chris Drury ($2 million per goal this season now) responded on the power play off a beautiful feed from Eric Christensen (Sather makes great moves... just has no concept of contracts). The fourth line then struck again off a faceoff with under 7 minutes left in the first. Brandon Prust battled through a check to feed Jody Shelley who scored his first of the season and first as a Ranger, igniting the Garden.

Marian Gaborik got the second period going with a brilliant rush and feed to Brandon Dubinsky for his 20th of the season and a career high 44 points. But you know it couldn't be easy. Danny Briere and Mike Richards then sucked the life out of the building with goals to tie it. It didn't look good... but then again... the Rangers have Gaborik. 2:13 after Richards tied it, Gaborik stole the puck in center and walked in on a semi-breakaway. His wrist shot deflected off Matt Carle and over Brian Boucher giving the Rangers the lead... the win... and life.

Sunday at 3 in Philadelphia... it's win and in.

Marian Gaborik has hit his career high in goals, assists and points in his first year as a Ranger... Brandon Dubinsky also has set new career highs in goals and points...


Deadline Day...

The Rangers should be sellers this year on deadline day but of course now that they have won 3 straight... they won't be. This team is not one or two players away from a Stanley Cup so why bother buying? The answer is the raising price of tickets at the Garden. They simply have to make the playoffs even though they'll get knocked out in the first round.

If you're a Ranger fan like me you can feel where this is going. They'll pick up a Pavol Demitra or some other scrub like that and try to squeak into the playoffs. This year they won't make it and if they do it's a waste of time.

Ryan Callahan's stock will never be higher than it is right now. Would trade him provided the team involved takes Wade Redden in the deal? I might but then again, I'd rather not see Glen Sather rescue his cap disaster by trading away the one guy who gives his all on every shift, every night.

Updates throughout....

** Rangers get 28-year-old F Kris Newbury from Detroit for 23-year-old F Jordan Owens... Awesome!


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....