On MSG, after the Rangers lost to the Capitals, Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers can’t look anywhere but at themselves as for why they haven’t been playing up to their expectations.
Lundqvist said that they need to look at themselves and come together as a group to be better.
He added, “we know we are a good team, we all just have to be better.”
Adam Rotter: We will see what tonight brings for the Rangers. They should be good enough to win games and make the playoffs, anything more than that seems far fetched as of right now, but it’s on the Rangers top players (Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Dan Girardi and Lundqvist) to play at their best and turn things around. The only top guy on the team playing like he should is Ryan McDonagh. Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello are effective players but they aren’t and shouldn’t be the guys that the team is relying on to carry them. It’s a group effort of players who need to step up, but it starts at the top and needs to trickle down.
Following the Rangers loss to the Capitals on Sunday, Dave Maloney said that the Rangers aren’t skilled enough to be a skilled team and aren’t physical enough to be a physical team.
Maloney added that ever since the Rangers loss to the Bruins on the day after Thanksgiving, teams have been coming into Madison Square Garden and having their way with the Rangers.
Joe Micheletti said after the game that the Rangers seem to turn the puck over more than usual when they are playing without fire and intensity. He added that after the first few minutes against the Capitals, the Rangers became a very easy team to play against and one that lacked that “oomph” and the “gumption” they need on a nigh to night basis.
Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that while the Rangers need their top players to step up, they need the players on the fourth line to set a tone, be disruptive and be a “pain to play against.”
9:06PM: Dreger tweets that the salary cap is expected to be $71.1 million.
8:10PM: Darren Dreger tweets that the NHL BOG were told to expect a salary cap of upwards of $71 million for 2014-15.
11:38AM: Darren Dreger tweets that the NHL Board of Governors will get an official salary cap projection today during their meeting in Pebble Beach.
Dreger says that the projection is expected to be between $70 million and $71 million.
According to Cap Geek, if the salary cap rises to $70,000,000, the Rangers would have $29.9 million in salary cap space.
As of right now, the Rangers have Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Derek Dorsett, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, JT Miller, Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal under contract.
If the Rangers exercise their final compliance buyout on Richards, they would have $36,610,000 in cap space.
In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers have been lacking in energy and toughness since Brandon Prust left for Montreal (on a 4-year deal worth $10 millio) in the summer of 2012.
Brooks says that the Rangers haven’t had anyone to spark the team or someone who can “infuse his teammates with hockey courage” the way that Prust did.
Derek Dorsett, Brooks says, has tried, “with every fiber of his being” to bring the kind of game that Prust did.
On the players used on the Rangers fourth line, Brooks says that Brian Boyle’s is struggling to the point where it is tough to watch, Benoit Pouliot is a “mistake machine,” Taylor Pyatt struggles to keep up with the pace and Dominic Moore has tried to spark something but hasn’t been able to.
Adam Rotter: No one thought it would be this hard for the Rangers to replace Prust. When Prust came to the Rangers he wasn’t much more than a 4th line guy and with the Rangers and John Tortorella he developed into a more complete player, a penalty killer and someone who had an important role with the team. I think there was a feeling that they could find a player who plays a similar tough style, has some of the same attributes and maybe develop him to get the same kind of result. Michael Haley, an energy/tough guy who was an occasional NHLer with the Isles seemed to fit the model of that kind of player. Derek Dorsett brings a lot of what Prust did, but it’s just not having the same impact.
John Giannone, on his Bleeding Blueshirts podcast, asked Jim Schoenfeld about players in Hartford that the Rangers have an eye on.
Schoenfeld said that he hated to name players for fear of leaving one out, but said:
- “Danny Kristo has very good offensive skills and we have him killing penalties too because we want him to learn to play away form the puck. I don’t believe there is anyone in the American league who is good enough offensively to survive in the NHL with that skill alone. They will have to learn to be two-way players in one way or another. They will need to learn how to finish a check, block a shot, learn to be reliable in the defensive zone, in the neutral zone they will have to understand coverage because it’s going to be increasingly difficult for them to score. You can’t be giving up what you can’t get back. We are trying to turn them into two way players.”
- “JT Miller has made another trip back to Hartford. He has skill, people have seen his skill. They have seen him score goals, they have seen a good wrist shot, a good release. They have seen courage and toughness. JT Miller is learning to play away from the puck because it’s too risky and the coach doesn’t feel comfortable enough to put him on the ice in certain situations. It goes to play and learn rather than stay here and condition.”
- “Dylan McIlrath has made great strides this year. He is tough as nails, a good scrapper, good body checker and he is developing his craft.”
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12/9/13 4:53PM:: The Rangers game preview for tomorrow nights game against Nashville lists Staal as “injured” and “out indefinitely.”
12/8/13 5:21PM: Alain Vigneault’s exact words on Staal were, “Marc at this time is being treated for neck issues which are causing him to have some symptoms. We are not sure if the symptoms are caused because of the neck issues from the hit last night. Obviously with his history we are taking every precaution but we will likely know more in the next day or two.”
4:59PM: Alain Vigneault, during his pre-game media briefing, announced that Marc Staal is being treated for a neck related issue and he will not play tonight. (Katie Strang)
The team, according to AV, is not yet sure if Staal’s issue is concussion related.
For more on Staal, CLICK HERE.
The Rangers have announced that Arron Asham has been called up and that JT Miller has been sent down.
Asham was sent down by the Rangers in mid-October and embraced the idea of working his way back up to the Rangers.
He has played in 12 games for the Wolf Pack and has 2 assists, 5 shots on goal and 19 PIM.
About a week before being sent down, Alain Vigneault said of Asham “He is at the point now in his career where he wants to be in the NHL as long as he can and contribute. He is one of our oldest players and he is fighting to stay in our lineup and to stay in the NHL. He was put on waivers and no one picked him up, so you have 30 teams that have passed on him so now he comes into the lineup and hopefully he can play well for us.”
Miller was recalled on Friday and played 11:49 on Saturday with 2 shots and 9:01 last night with 0 shots and a minus two rating.
Adam Rotter: Honestly, I had forgotten about Asham. Besides seeing the odd note here and there that he was missing games in Hartford due to being hurt and then returning, I had forgotten that he was still Rangers property. He isn’t a solution to any of the Rangers issues, but he does bring some toughness and grit that the team is lacking. If anything, Asham is a better use of a spot in the lineup than Benoit Pouliot, who scored last night but was mostly ineffective and spent most of the night going offsides.
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via Extra Skater:
Rangers 5 on 5 shot attempts:
- Total: 43 for, 47 against
- Shots on goal or missed: 30 for, 38 against
- Shots on goal: 23 for, 29 against
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After the Rangers lost to the Jets, Dave Maloney said on MSG that he didn’t think that the Rangers, as presently built, were the type of team that could work down low and grind out a win. Maloney said, “I think it’s a team that has to create turnovers, be quick and in position and support. Vigneault wants the players to be quick to the puck, support each other and then you can be a pretty good team.”
Joe Micheletti said after the Jets last, “when they forecheck and put pressure on they will be a team that can control the pace of the game. When they get stuck in their end too much things don’t happen.”
Following the Rangers loss to the Bruins 10 days ago, Eddie Olczyk said this about the Rangers, “The Rangers don’t finish a lot of opportunities. We talked during the broadcast about how they changed thier style. The defensemen are much more involved. They are playing much more into the offensive zone but they don’t have a lot of pure finishers. It puts a lot of pressure on the team D and a lot of pressure on the goaltending. At the end of the day they need Rick Nash to do what he has been doing. When he is on he is one of the premiere players in this league.
Bob McKenzie, on TSN Drive recently, said that the Rangers have “no margin for error with the Rangers because they don’t score a lot of goals. It’s a real impotent offense.”
Rick Nash told the NY Post that the Rangers effort on Sunday was “unacceptable” and that the team isn’t playing with the desperation that they need.
Nash added that “it can’t go on this way” and that the Rangers need to outwork teams to get wins.
Ryan Callahan told John Giannone last night that the Rangers game fell apart in the second period and they stopped battling and competing.
Callahan added that the Rangers have a challenge in front of them, especially on home ice, and they need to answer it.
He added that once the battle level is there, everything else falls into place.
Brad Richards said that things are too comfortable with the Rangers right now.
This is not the first time this season where the Rangers battle level/compete level has been called into question.