Tag:New York Rangers
Posted on: November 5, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Mike Keenan to coach Rangers alumni game

By: Adam Gretz

Mike Keenan spent one season behind the bench coaching the New York Rangers, and what a glorious season it turned out to be.

It was the 1993-94 campaign, and it was the season the Rangers ended their 54-year Stanley Cup drought thanks to a classic Game 7 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the Finals.

Keenan, however, did not return to the Rangers bench the following season, even with the championship, due to a dispute with then-general manager Neil Smith, and instead moved on to coach the St. Louis Blues for the three seasons.

On Friday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported, via Twitter, that Keenan will be returning -- sort of -- to the Rangers bench this December when he coaches the Rangers alumni during the Winter Classic alumni game that will take place on Dec. 31 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, against a team made up of Flyers alumni.

Here's hoping he makes four random goalie changes in one period, just for old times sake.

In stops with eight different teams throughout his coaching career Keenan recorded 631 wins with the Flyers, Blackhawks, Rangers, Blues, Canucks, Bruins, Panthers and Flames, making the playoffs 13 times in 20 seasons.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:58 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:26 am
 

Winter Classic tix start at $522 on Stub Hub

By Brian Stubits

Want to take part in NHL history when the first outdoor game is played in the City of Brotherly Love to open the new year? OK, but it'll cost ya!

Adam Gretz has already gone over the difficulties of buying tickets to the game through the official avenues, i.e. the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and NHL. People in Philly just a tad angry with the plan.

So what about Stub Hub? Sure, you can get tickets there ... starting at $522.90. Look again in 10 minutes and the price is probably higher.

I'm somebody who still loves to go to a sporting event live. Hockey in person? Love it. Football from the stadium? Can't get enough. NBA from the arena? I can at least watch that. Being at the event just makes things better.

But this? I don't see who would want to spend that kind of money to sit in freezing temperatures so far away from the rink that you can't probably even see the game.

Of course you could always sit in the Hall of Fame Club at Philadelphia's Citizen's Bank Park. Those seats are only going for $4,499.00.

H/t to NYRangersblog.com

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 3:56 pm
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

By: Adam Gretz

When Brendan Shanahan handed out nine suspensions during the preseason the biggest question on our minds was whether or not that torrid pace would continue in the regular season, or if that was simply the message sending and adjustment phase.

A month into the regular season and, as of Thursday morning, Shanahan has issued just four suspensions that have totaled 11 games, while also issuing just two fines. For a comparison, on the same date last season under former NHL disciplinary czar Colin Campbell, the NHL had issued seven suspensions during the regular season that totaled 17 games, along with six fines.

After four suspensions for an illegal hit to the head during a one-week stretch in the preseason, we didn't see our first suspension for a similar play until this week when Edmonton's Andy Sutton received a five-game banishment for his hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog. Are the players getting the message that was sent out during the preseason and starting to figure out what they are and aren't allowed to do? Or has Shanahan simply softened on what's worthy of a suspension? I think it's a combination of the two, and according to players like Nashville's Mike Fisher, who was on the receiving end of a questionable hit this past week, there is still some confusion from the players perspective.

I do think, simply based on nothing other than my own observations, that we have probably seen a bit of decrease in the number of blatant hits to the head. Whether or not that's because of the run of suspensions during the preseason, combined with the steady stream of video's breaking down each punishment, as well as the videos sent to each team demonstrating legal and illegal hits, is certainly up for debate. There just doesn't seem to be quite as many questionable hits as there were in recent seasons that have left us asking, "is this guy going to get suspended?"

But while they don't seem to be as frequent, they do still exist. Over the past week, for example, there have been a couple that drew some attention that resulted in no punishment from the league, including a play that involved Fisher getting hit by Francois Beauchemin, as well as Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski and his hit on Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson.

Shanahan appeared on NHL Live on Wednesday afternoon and addressed them.

"The first thing players want to know is what can't I do," said Shanahan. "And then the next, maybe just as important question is what can I do. And so we worked really hard in the offseason, players wanted us to get rid of illegal head shots, general managers wanted us to get rid of illegal head shots and I think the fans do to. And I think it's going to trickle down into minor hockey as well, so we talked a lot about this and we worked with the NHLPA, and players contributed to this, we talked about making a full body check."

At that point Shanahan went into a full description of why there was no discipline for Beauchemin:
"We felt that Beauchemin worked hard, right here he's blowing snow, he actually gets in front of Fisher, and he's blowing snow and digging in and he's hitting him in the chest, shoulder and unfortunately there is some incidental contact to the head, but we feel that's a full body check. We've asked the players to do hat, Beauchemin worked really hard to get in front of Fisher, maybe a year ago he doesn't and he hits him from the blindside. Even though he approached from the blindside he didn't deliver the hit, you saw the snow blowing, he got in front of him, stopped, dug in, kept his elbow down, kept his feet on the ice and delivered a hard hit."
And then on the on the Wolski/Alfredsson hit:
"Wolski's not a dirty player, and has no history of being a dirty player. There are collisions that occur on the ice where, unfortunately, one player sees it just prior. On this play here, Wolski has got to get out to his point. You see here, Gaborik, the left winger, has to come all the way to Wolski's point on the right side because Wolski's not there. He ran into Alfredsson trying to get there."

"We've seen enough of these now, and I don't like these, but we've seen enough of them where when one player sees the hit just prior, he tenses up. And sometimes he even leans in because he's bracing for an impact. When both guys see it, it's two guys tensing up and they bounce off each other and everybody's fine. It's really unfortunate here, when one player doesn't see it and the other guy does."

"Now, if I felt this was intentional, or if it wasn't at the last instant, just prior. If I might have felt there was any kind of sneakiness or history of these types of offenses for Wolski, he would have been suspended."
Shanahan's emphasis on prior history, and whether or not a player has a reputation for being a dirty player or a track record of illegal hits has sparked some discussion as well as the concern that there is still way too much inconsistency when it comes to player discipline. Should it really matter if a player has or has not been guilty of an illegal hit in the past when he does eventually commit one? Of course not. An illegal play is an illegal play whether or not it's delivered by Wojtek Wolski, a player with no prior history, or Daniel Carcillo, a player with a lengthy history. Not suspending a player like Wolski because he's never done it before almost seems as if it's giving players one free pass before they get punished.

It's either legal or it's not.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Tortorella offers another response to Thornton

jtresponseBy: Adam Gretz

When John Tortorella was informed on Monday night that Sharks forward Joe Thornton referred to the Ranger as "the softest team" they played on their current road trip, the New York bench boss offered a rather surprising, calm and reasonable response following his team's 5-2 win: "Wonderful."

Thornton has since backtracked on the "soft" remark and said it was not the word he was looking for, but after having an opportunity to sleep on it, and confirm the actual comments, Tortorella came out firing on Tuesday morning at the Rangers practice facility. According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Tortorella, who led the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first (and to this point only) Stanley Cup championship during the 2003-04 season, let loose with the type of response we should have originally expected. Anger.

From the Daily News:
“Yeah it caught me off-guard when it was brought up after the game,” Tortorella said at the team’s Greenburgh practice facility Tuesday morning. “It surprised me, and I’ve never heard a player say that. Joe’s a heck of a player, but here’s a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn’t won a g--damn thing in this league. He could go down as a player, being one of the better players in our league never to win anything. So what he should do is just shut up. It was uncalled for, it was classless, and I’ve never had it happen like that before.”
Now that's more like it. The biggest criticism that is constantly pointed in Thornton's direction is what is basically the never does it when it matters argument, and how his teams have typically been postseason disappointments. For all of the regular season success Thornton and his teams have had throughout his career, the playoffs have been a mountain they've been unable to climb whether it's been in Boston or San Jose.

Of course, while Thornton has yet to experience a Stanley Cup, he has won something in the NHL on an individual level, taking home the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer and the Hart Trophy as the MVP during the 2005-06 season.

That counts for something, right?

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Rangers recall Avery after he clears waivers

By Brian Stubits

The loud and boisterous New York Rangers fans got their wish on Tuesday. Sean Avery cleared re-entry waivers and was immediately recalled by New York.

Now the fun begins.

Avery was reassigned to the AHL just before the Rangers opened the season in Sweden. At the time, coach John Tortorella didn't want to "jam" Avery up, saying he believed there were better players on the roster. It was a hockey decision, not a personal one.

For his part, Avery said he didn't believe he ever had a fair chance to make the roster and that he didn't expect to return to the NHL this season.

Most say Avery was recalled to give the Rangers some energy and a spark. Until Monday night's 5-2 thumping of the Sharks, they had been rather flat. Avery's game is anything but flat. Ironically, though, the game de-emphasized the need for Avery after the process to recall him had already begun. Still, the Sharks' Joe Thornton thinks the Rangers could use a little more grit still.

But Tortorella, who has a frosty relationship with Avery, said the move was done in lieu of Mike Rupp's knee injury. Again, it's a hockey move.

"This is the right decision," Tortorella said Monday. "It's the right hockey decision now and it was the right hockey decision when we sent Sean down. That's where it's at."

At least he's sticking to his guns.

We'll still have to wait and see if Tortorella will play Avery. The decision to recall him might have come from GM Glen Sather, but Tortorella still puts the players on the ice. Our first chance to see how the Torts-Avery reunion is going will be on Thursday when the Rangers host the Anaheim Ducks.

"I'm not force-feeding anything," Tortorella said after Monday's game. "If I look at the tape and think guys have done their job, you stay with your team. I just don't know what the lineup's going to be our next game. We'll see how it all works out." 

As I said, this is going to be fun.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 9:46 am
 

Sharks' Thornton calls Rangers soft after loss

By Brian Stubits

The Rangers might have turned in their most impressive effort of the season on Halloween night, snapping the San Jose Sharks' five-game win streak. They actually had the power play clicking and outshot the Sharks 31-26.

But the win wasn't enough to impress Joe Thornton of the Sharks. After the game, he shared his thoughts on the Blueshirts. His brutally honest thoughts.

.

The road trip they just wrapped up included stops in New Jersey, Boston, Nashville, Detroit and Long Island in addition to Manhattan.

Then later there was Rangers coach John Tortorella's response, from Katie Strang at ESPN New York.

When told about Thornton's jab, Tortorella responded:

"Wonderful."

Simple enough retort from Torts.

Unfortunately, the Sharks and Rangers won't meet again this season -- unless it's in the Stanley Cup Final of course. That could make for a really fun rematch with Thornton's words being posted in the Rangers locker room.

Ironically, the game on Monday featured a fight between Brandon Prust and Ryane Clowe just seven seconds into the game.

But this might be -- even if John Tortorella won't say as much -- be a reason why the Rangers are recalling Sean Avery from the AHL. If nothing else, he'll bring a spark and an edge to the Rangers. But something tells me it wasn't said to be constructive criticism from Thornton.

Whatever the intent was, I'll bet the message was received from the Rangers and their fans. Now if only the Sharks could return to MSG this season, we could have another "Can you hear us?" moment.

Video courtesy of The Score

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 7:11 pm
 

Alfredsson has concussion, Sens GM not happy

By Brian Stubits

Just when things are going good for the surprising Ottawa Senators, they get word that their captain, Daniel Alfredsson, is going to be out for at least a week after sustaining a concussion.

Alfredsson took a hit from Wojtek Wolski of the New York Rangers in Saturday's 5-4 OT Sens win in New York. The league decided not to take any action against Wolski for the hit, concluding he was bracing in anticipation of contact.

Sens GM Bryan Murray was less than pleased with the decision and shared it with Allen Panzeri of Senators Extra.

“There were be no suspension, it was a hockey hit,” said Murray.

“Basically, what I was told was that [Wolski] reacted to contact and stiffened up but didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Just happened to hit Alfredsson in the head.”

Murray told Shanahan he didn’t -- couldn’t -- agree.

“Well, it’s my player, and I have an emotional attachment to it, so no,” he said.

“I told him I didn’t agree. I felt that the player did go out of his way, a little, to make contact, that it was an elbow involved in the play.

“I thought we had determined that a shoulder check ... would be considered an accidental hit, but an elbow to the head I was under the impression there would be a suspension.

Speaking for myself, I concur with Murray on this one. It seemed like a hit that was worthy of further punishment, and I explained more why here. But what I find most interesting here is that this is the most vocal criticism -- even if it is mild in this case -- of Shanahan from inside an organization.

But getting back to Alfredsson, he will now be out until his post-concussion symptoms disappear. There never is any way of truly telling when that might happen, so while the Senators are enjoying a six-game win streak, in the back of their minds they will be thinking of their captain.

In the Sens' start, Alfie has scored four goals and contributed with three assists.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Wolski, Beauchemin won't face punishment for hits

By Brian Stubits

Wojtek Wolski and Francois Beauchemin? You are safe. Neither player will face further discipline for their hits on Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher respectively over the weekend.

Wolski's hit in question came in Saturday's tilt with the Senators in New York. In the play, Wolski hits Alfredsson high on the play away from the puck and drew a minor penalty for the hit that left Alfredsson down on the ice.

Alfredsson missed Sunday night's game against the Maple Leafs because of the hit.

So what was the reasoning the league isn't acting further on the hit? Here's the explanation from Kevin Allen at USA Today: "The league view on the Wolski hit was that Wolski was bracing for impact when Alfredsson skated into him."

Plays like this one not getting more discipline will likely only confuse people as to what is and is not a bad hit. The line seemed to be coming into clarity, but this will only blur it once again. This seemed like a textbook suspension hit at first glance.

The Beauchemin hit on Fisher is much easier to see as not being worthy of discipline.

Here is the hit for your digestion.

Here is the reasoning from Allen in Beauchemin's case: "The league's view was that Beauchemin's hit was a full body check with incidental head contact."

Now this one I can agree with. It is a vicious-looking hit, especially with Beauchemin going airborne on the hit. However, the main contact definitely looks to be on the body, not the head.

For his two cents, Beauchemin said after the game he wasn't concerned about a suspension.

“I’m only concerned about his health," Beauchemin said. "I’m just hoping he’s OK because I think that was just a clean hit shoulder to shoulder. Looking at the replay myself, I think his head might have hit the ice when he fell down. And that’s probably how he got hurt.”

Like Alfredsson, Fisher is going to miss some time after taking the blow.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com