According to Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record, Brad Richards had an x-ray on his left index finger after taking an unpenalized slash to the hand by Eric Staal in the third period last night.
Here's Richards on the injury...
"I don’t think that’s going to be an issue," Richards said. "It’s a bit of a stinger while it happens and, hopefully, tomorrow I wake up a little sore and move on."
After the shift, Richards was seen yelling at the ref and wincing in pain on the bench as he observed the damage to his fingers.
...i'm just waiting to hear the words no Rangers fan wants spoken, "Brad Richards is out for the season." And not because the Blueshirts will lose one of their most consistent scorers, but because he would become ineligible to be amnestied this offseason.
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The New York Rangers (34-26-4) defeated the Carolina Hurricanes (27-27-9) by the score of 4-2, tonight. For a box score, go to Yahoo! Sports.
...last week, with the Rangers dominating the Bruins in the first period, Jarome Iginla changed the momentum of the game after starting a scrum with Marc Staal. Well, I guess Chris Kreider was paying attention, because with the Carolina crowd still buzzing after Skinner's third period penalty shot goal seemingly gave the Hurricanes the lead for good, the Rangers forward purposely bumped defenseman Hainsey into Khudobin after the whistle on the very next shift, which either messed with the goaltender's rhythm or fired up the Blueshirts bench as it completely turned the game in the visiting team's favor.
...so much for Zuccarello having to knock off some rust in his first game back from injury as he was the best Rangers player on the ice.
...i love Ryan Callahan, but no way he makes that pass to Stepan on the game winner.
...speaking of Stepan, with the way his season has gone, I was fully expecting him to shoot that wide.
...while I always expect McDonagh to make an impact on the penalty kill, scoring a short-handed goal in back-to-back games was not what I had in mind.
...quick, someone look it up for me, that had to be the Rangers first empty net goal this season, right?
...is there any chance Vigneault can sub Talbot in for Lundqvist on penalty shots?
...not sure what was more embarrassing the refs missing the blatant boarding on Girardi or the Rangers lack of response to it.
...speaking of the refs, here's exclusive video of Vigneault letting them know how he felt about their performance tonight...
...still lots to cleanup on the defensive end, but, led by McDonagh, they did an outstanding job of limiting the scoring chances from Carolina's skill players.
...when John Moore is skating and jumping into the play offensively, he's a nice little weapon.
...1g, 1a with five shots on goal. Now that's a stat line we need to see more often from Nash.
...with only a month left in the season, winning the special teams battle will be critical to whether the Rangers make the playoffs or not as tonight proved.
...second game in a row the Rangers fought back from deficits to either win or collect points. Resiliency jump started the team back in December and hopefully it's doing the same when it matters most.
...i have to give AV and his staff a ton of credit for not allow the players to get frustrated by the terrible officiating and outstanding goaltending. They remained focused. Stayed with their game plan and it paid off.
...having said that, you saw a little urgency from AV as for one of the few times this season, he tinkered with the lines throughout in an attempt to find some offense. No idea what combinations we might see at practice tomorrow, but I liked St. Louis & Zuccarello forming the Hobbit line for a few shifts.
...off tomorrow then the Red Wings are in town Sunday afternoon.
Steve Zipay at Newsday reports that the Rangers have confirmed that Mats Zuccarello will return to the lineup in Carolina tonight for the first time since fracturing his hand during the Olympics.
...with just 19 games remaining, the Rangers need all hands on deck. I know some fans were looking for some line changes in response to the Rangers lack of offense recently, but AV has been pretty consistent with the lines this season, so expect Zuccarello to be back with Brassard & Pouliot while the other lines will remain the same.
...i'm really excited that Zuccarello will be able to work with fellow smurf St. Louis to help take his game to another level.
It's no mystery that one of the main reasons for the Rangers post Olympic struggles has been the defensive breakdowns, which Alain Vigneault addressed yesterday (via Daily News)...
“I know you’re talking about Klein and Stralsy, to some extent,” Vigneault said. “I do think they both can be a little bit better and they have to be a little bit better. I agree with that. A big part of our game is coming up clean, coming up together and making that first initial pass beating that forecheck. That’s when we’re at our best. That’s when we’re getting something on the rush, and then once we’re in the zone, then we can create a little bit more. But to do that you need that good first pass, and those guys have been a little bit off, and they need to be better (Friday against Carolina).”
...upon Klein's arrival in New York, he instantly solidified the Rangers back end, unfortunately, his game has slipped recently as he's starting to lose puck battles and not as sound with the puck.
...as I mentioned in my Maple Leafs game recap, I thought Stralman stepped up his physical game against Toronto, but his egregious giveaway behind the net basically lost them the game.
...if nothing else, my hope is the Diaz acquisition will serve as a wake-up call, because if these two, as well as J. Moore, don't step-up their game soon they're going to be watching from the press box.
Also yesterday, Vigneault admitted that he's concerned about the team's mindset after losing their captain...
...was surprised at how candid St. Louis was regarding the situation in Tampa. Especially, that he felt the Lightning owed it to him to fullfill his wish to be traded after everything he's done for organization.
...also found his thoughts on the Rangers being built for the playoffs interesting, because I don't think they are. Need more grit and toughness to survive.
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Let's admit it Rangers fans, it's been a very strange few months. I never thought I'd see the day Blueshirt Nation turned on Ryan Callahan. He was the heart and soul of the team. The one guy we could count on to bring his lunch pail every night and leave it all out on the ice. When the Rangers needed a boost he threw a big hit. When they needed a clutch goal, he obliged. And oh those blocked shots. He was the master.
I still remember when he exploded onto the scene in just his fourth NHL game in 2007 with a two goal, one fight performance against the Bruins on St. Patrick's Day wearing #43 and playing on a line with Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery.
He wasn't a big guy, but you could tell he had a big heart. After that successful first call-up with the Rangers which ended in the Conference Semifinals against the Sabres (Drury!), big things were expected from Callahan the next season. But as is the case with most young players, he struggled mightily and was sent to Hartford to rediscover his game as well as his confidence. This is when I first knew the Rangers had something special, because instead of sulking, he used it as motivation, worked on his game and was recalled back to the big club after scoring 15 points (7g, 8a) in just 11 games. And he never looked back.
Throughout the years, he earned Rangers fans' respect with his hard-nosed play...
Lundqvist is 0-2-1 in three starts since the Olympic break.
...Lundqvist is far from being to blame for the Rangers struggles since the break as the defensive breakdowns have led to increased scoring chances. Having said that, he's definitely not as locked in as he was before leaving for Sochi. Anyone starting to get flashbacks of 2006? Someone get the Rangers medical staff to check if Lundqvist is grinding his teeth at night again.
...the Rangers have five games in the next eight days, so I thought tomorrow might be a good spot to get Talbot another start against a team at the bottom of the division. At the same time, Vigneault also needs to get Lundqvist feeling good about his game again, so maybe a start against a struggling team is the answer.
Meanwhile, Vigneault also said that Mats Zuccarello is a game time decision with his fractured hand. Here's Zuccarello after practice...
Yesterday ended being one insane day for Rangers fans, so I decided to put this post together to tie-up some loose ends in the aftermath of the Martin St. Louis/Ryan Callahan blockbuster trade.
Two days ago, Steve Zipay at Newsday reported that beyond money, another hang-up in the contract negotiations between the Rangers and Callahan was an issue with no trade/no movement clause. To which I scoffed at, as I refused to believe a NTC would blow up a potential deal to bring back a beloved Ranger. Well...
"We were getting closer on the money," Sather said at Madison Square Garden a few hours after talks broke down. "When this thing got started it was eight years and an awful lot of money for Ryan Callahan or for anybody else, unless you're a first All Star, a player that's won Stanley Cups. [But] the no-trade is the one thing that really bothered me in the end; it really ties your hands. I know it's nice for the players to have security, but 'no-trade' . . . is a tough deal."
...sort of ironic that an issue with a no trade cause ultimately caused Callahan to be traded.
In the aftermath of the trade, Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com reported that the San Jose Sharks were heavily involved in the Callahan trade talks.
Sather acknowledged that he had other offers on the table if the St. Louis deal fell through, but that the returns were geared more towards the future.
...amazing how much differently we would be viewing the Rangers this morning if Sather traded Callahan to San Jose and ended up with just picks and prospects. St. Louis makes them a contender, the other deal might have had us looking towards next season.
Here's Sather's full press conference on the trade...
As you can imagine this trade didn't go over too well with Lightning fans, so St. Louis tried to smooth things over by sending this letter to the Tampa faithful (via Puck Daddy)...