Justin Falk seems like a good candidate to be sent to Hartford for a two-week conditioning stint after being scratched for the 13th straight game last night. (NY Post)
Larry Brooks says that the Rangers could do that or they could place him on waivers. (NY Post)
Falk has not played in 2014 and last played 8:45 on 12/29 before Marc Staal returned.
From the CBA, article 13.8, “Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate. The Player shall continue, during the period of such Conditioning Loan, to receive the same Paragraph 1 NHL Salary, and be entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.”
Larry Brooks tweets that Justin Falk and JT Miller are IN tonight’s Rangers lineup and that Benoit Pouliot and Michael Del Zotto are scratched.
Henrik Lundqvist starts in net.
Derek Dorsett is still out with a wrist injury.
12:40PM: Steve Zipay says that Del Zotto will be on the second PP unit.
12:39PM: According to Pat Leonard, Alain Vigneault announced that Justin Falk and JT Miller will be healthy scratches tonight.
Michael Del Zotto returns to the Rangers lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last three games.
Falk played 12:11, 13:08 and 10:18 in the last three games.
On the season, the Rangers only have 39% of the 5 on 5 shot attempts when Falk is on the ice.
4:51PM: Falk spoke with Ranger Rants and said that he felt he played well in the last game but understands that he needs to be consistent on a night to night basis.
1:37PM: Justin Falk will play in his third straight game tonight against the Devils.
Alain Vigneault explained that he thought the defense played well enough as a group to not warrant any changes.
In the two games, Falk has played:
- St. Louis: 11 shifts, 3:42 in the first and 1:24 in the second. 0 third period shifts
- Washington: 15 shifts, 3:55 in the first, 3:02 in the second and 2:00 in the third.
On the season, he has 2 shots, 3 hits a fighting major and two interference penalties.
According to Extra Skater, Falk has been on the ice for 10 shot attempts for and 18 shot attempts against. He has been on the ice for six shots on goal for and eight shots on goal against.
Vigneault said on 98.7 ESPN Radio on Wednesday that, “with his skill set, which is a decent skill set, but it’s not a John Moore skill set, for him to stay in the league he needs to bring an edge to the game. Everyone brings something different, he needs to be dependable one on one and by physical.
Justin Falk made his regular season debut on Saturday night as Alain Vigneault dressed seven defensemen and only 11 forwards.
Falk played 5:16 and didn’t play in the third period. He only had three shifts in the second period for a total of 1:34.
He didn’t play another shift after taking an interference penalty at 12:08 of the second period.
The other six defensemen played:
- Michael Del Zotto: 21:05, plus 1
- Dan Girardi: 19:18, minus 2
- Anton Stralman: 19:29, minus 1
- Marc Staal: 16:41, minus 2
- John Moore: 14:20, plus one
- Ryan McDonagh: 18:02, minus 1
Alain Vigneault said after the game, “it was a combo of our D fighting it a little and I thought that if I threw in another guy and that one of them was struggling we would have another guy. That is why I dressed Justin.”
Alain Vigneault noted last night that the Rangers have one decision to make on defense and it is who will be the seventh defenseman.
As noted by the NY Post and Newsday, the battle is between Justin Falk and Stu Bickel while Conor Allen will be sent to Hartford on Sunday.
Bickel and Falk are both on one-year, one-way deals. Bickel is at $750,000 while Falk is at $975,000 and would cost a $50,000 cap charge if he was sent to Hartford since his salary is above $925,000.
The NY Post notes that Bickel brings a physical element to the Rangers, something that they need, and his versatility and ability to play wing may give him an advantage.
Prior to the game last night, Alain Vigneault told the team’s website that he was hoping to have an answer on the seventh defenseman by the end of the night and that both Falk and Bickel played well.
Justin Falk turns 25 in October which puts him in the middle of the Rangers defense in terms of age.
Dan Girardi, Aaron Johnson, Anton Stralman and Marc Staal are older while Michael Del Zotto, John Moore and Ryan McDonagh are younger.
In terms of games played though, Falk at 108 has played the second fewest games on the Rangers defense. John Moore, with 99, has played the fewest.
Falk told the team’s website that the Rangers defense is poised and experienced beyond their years and that they can help him develop and and establish himself in the NHL.
He added that for him to play well he needs to play aggressive, play happy and be confident.
For more on Falk, CLICK HERE.
On the day of the draft, the Rangers acquired Justin Falk to help shore up their defensive depth.
Of all the Rangers offseason acquisitions, EJ Hradek, of NHL.com, think that Falk could have the biggest impact.
Hradek said, “I think Falk could be the most important of those guys as he will shore up the back of the defense that is very strong at the top with Girardi, Staal, McDonagh. Those guys are good but you need guys at the back and Falk is one of those guys who can play 5, 6, 7″
For more on Falk, CLICK HERE.
In a January 2012 article looking back at the 2007 draft for the Minnesota Wild, Hockey’s Future writes about Falk and the progress he has shown as a pro.
They wrote that Falk was an important member of the Memorial Cup winning Spokane Chiefs in 2008 and was named to the tournament all-star team.
HF notes that Falk, a 4th round pick in 2007, doesn’t have a real mean streak but has had to develop a “greater physical edge” to be an “effective” NHLer
With his size, skating ability and “decent puck skills,” HF pegged Falk to be a player who would hold down a spot in Minnesota and develop into a core player.
Minnesota coach Mike Yeo has said, in training camp in 2011, “I have a lot of confidence in jUstin. He is a guy, he is a big guy and people expect more from a big guy, but when I break down the scoring chances at the end of the night, at the end of the night he is responsible for zero scoring chances which is nice for a defenseman, especially for a guy known as a defensive defenseman. As camp has gone on I think he has been more assertive, more confident with the puck.”
Yeo noted, at that time, that he was starting to play Falk on the right side. He doesn’t force himself into bad positions. If he you are going to be a good defender you need to know how to execute with the puck and part of that is coming out of the defensive zone.
Josh Harding, his teammate in Minnesota, told TwinCities.com that Falk is a “big body” that can mvoe and brings a physical element to the game.
In the playoffs this year, when Falk was reinserted into the lineup, Yeo said “he’s obviously got great size and has a physical presence, but he also has a skating ability, and I think he’s been able to use those things to be an effective player for us.”
For more on Falk, CLICK HERE.
12:02PM: The Rangers have also announced that JT Miller has switched his number from #47 to #10.
10 was last worn by Marian Gaborik.
11:11AM: The Rangers have announced that their new players will wear the following numbers:
It was previously noted that Moore would wear #28. Moore wore #18 during his season with the Rangers in 2005-06.
Steve Eminger has worn #44 for the Rangers the last three seasons. #4 was also worn by Lindy Ruff, Ryan Hollweg and Per Djoos.
47 was worn by JT Miller last season. Miller did not choose #47, it was assigned to him originally at the 2011 Traverse City Tournament.
Pouliot is the only Ranger to wear #67.