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Tag:Michael Del Zotto
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 11:03 pm
 

Reports: Rangers no longer in Rick Nash chase

Columbus fans might get their wish ... for the remainder of this season at least. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

It looks like those fans at Madison Square Garden last weeks changint "We don't want you!" to Rick Nash are going to get their wish. At least for now, they aren't.

Multiple outlets reported on Sunday that the Rangers, long seen as the favorite to swing a deal for Nash if he were dealt before the trade deadline on Monday afternoon, are out of the race. They just weren't willing to bend to the Blue Jackets' insistent asking price.

Here's more from Katie Strang of ESPN New York.

Barring a drastic change, a deal to bring the prized winger to New York does looks unlikely, a source told ESPNNewYork.com

The Rangers were believed to be the front-runners for the former No. 1 pick whose availability has dominated trade talks in the days leading up to the deadline, but New York does not appear to be willing to concede to Columbus' demands.

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson's asking price for the franchise player is reportedly significant; according to multiple reports he is asking for a roster player, top prospect and a first-round pick, if not more.

All along the rumors had it that the Jackets wanted either Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh or Derek Stepan and the Rangers weren't going to surrender any of those players. It was a stalemate and neither was willing to cave.

The asking price for Nash has always been high in this saga. Not that you can blame Columbus GM Scott Howson for staying so demanding in it all, mind you. But to make it a bit laughable, Darren Dreger of TSN says that that high price has actually gone up.

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This Nash saga has gone back and forth a lot. When his agent spoke up for the first time about the rumors, it sounded like the urgency was being put on the Jackets to get a deal done sooner rather than later. Then a contender falls by the wayside and the cost reportedly goes up.

It would appear to leave the Maple Leafs and possibly the San Jose Sharks in the conversation. There is also the possibility of dark horses in the Predators and maybe even the Flyers. But really it doesn't seem like the Jackets are going to find a deal that's amenable to them and Nash to where he'll be dealt on Monday.

Then again, who knows? We'll just have to wait and see by 3 ET on Monday.

More from Eye on Hockey

Nash: "I'm a Blue Jacket today"
Nash's agent speaks, Preds trying to get in

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

Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:52 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 12:55 am
 

Winners & Losers: Coyotes, Jackets, Flames

By: Adam Gretz

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

1. Phoenix Coyotes: A 3-0 deficit against Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings seems like like it might be impossible to overcome with the way this season has progressed. Not the case for the Coyotes on Tuesday night as they continued their winning ways with a come-from-behind, 5-4 shootout win. It was their eighth win in the past nine games, and their ninth straight game with at least a point in the standings. It also moves them into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks, a team that had their lunches handed to them by our next winner, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

2. Columbus Blue Jackets: In what has become a lost, disappointing season, the Blue Jackets had their most complete and impressive performance of the year on Tuesday night with a 6-3 win over the Sharks. R.J. Umberger completed his first career Gordie Howe Trick scoring a goal, assisting on another and dropping the gloves … all in the first period. And it took him just 4:11 of ice-time to accomplish it. Talk about efficiency.

3. Another high-scoring Jets-Flyers game: Somehow, the Winnipeg Jets had a chance to move into the top spot in the Southeast Division (and the third spot in the Eastern Conference) with a regulation win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

They didn't win, but they still managed to gain a point with a 5-4 overtime loss and move into a tie with the Panthers, which is still pretty amazing. Are the Jets buyers? Sellers? A team that does nothing? Who knows at this point, but they're still in it thanks to the collective mediocrity that is the Southeast Division. But the most entertaining thing here is the Jets and Flyers played another high-scoring, back-and-forth game. In their four-game season series this year the two teams combined for 38 goals. That's an average of 9.5 goals per game in a league where the average game features just 5.46.

It's like 1985 all over again when these two teams get together, and as of now, a first-round playoff matchup isn't entirely out of the question.

We can only hope.

Losers

1. The Anaheim Ducks playoff chances: Much had been made of the fact the Anaheim Ducks were only five points out of a playoff spot entering Tuesday night, but here is why it's going to be next to impossible for them to catch up: Even with one of the best stretches in the NHL they're still back to being six points out and are still in 13th after Tuesday. Their best two-month stretch of the season has seen them gain four points and move up one spot in the standings since early December. Those points are just too hard to make up, and a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay doesn't help.  They have no margin for error, and losing to a team that's in selling off players every other team and makes the hole they're in even deeper.

2. Calgary Flames: There was one team on the ice on Tuesday night that looked like it was fighting for its playoff lives, and it wasn't the Calgary Flames in a 6-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. These are the points that the Flames need if they're going to earn one of the top eight spots in the West, and this one was a clunker.

3. The New Islanders slow starts: Scoring first is a big deal in the NHL, and no team seems to get off to slower starts on a nightly basis than the New York Islanders. They were down 2-0 just three minutes into Monday's game, and then on Tuesday against Buffalo they fell behind just 1:12 into the first period of their 2-1 loss to the Sabres. It's tough to win games when you're spotting the other team a one-goal lead almost right off the opening faceoff every night.

Goal of the Night: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins.

New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella said this goal by Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, his 33rd of the season, was the result of "a dumb play by Michael Del Zotto." His turnover may have led to it, but it's still a big-time move on a play that involved two of the NHL's MVP favorites going one-on-one.



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

Posted on: February 21, 2012 5:46 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 8:54 am
 

Nash Dash: How would Nash fit with Rangers?

What Nash would look like in a Blueshirt.

By Brian Stubits

In the days leading up to the trade deadline (Monday, Feb. 27) we're going to keep tabs on the biggest name on the block, Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.

The list of teams rumored to be in on Nash isn't incredibly long and it's the usual suspects that you'd expect to be in on a big-name, high-priced star like Nash. His wish list -- put into song so wonderfully -- was supposedly five teams long with possible Wild cards in the mix too.

We're going to take a look at each of the rumored wish-list teams and how Nash would fit, starting today with the New York Rangers.

From the moment the Jackets said they'd entertain offers for Nash, the Rangers jumped to the front of the pack as a favorite to land him. With a team on its way to its best season since winning the Cup almost two decades ago lacking just a little in the scoring department and a rich farm system, Broadway seems like an ideal situation.

But you're left wondering why. Why would the Rangers want to risk what they have going for them by bringing in Nash? They already have the best points percentage in the NHL, obviously they are doing something right.

It seems to me that you're flirting with disaster by mixing up the formula. That's especially the case if it requires losing some assets that are currently on the team, going beyond the prospects.

Usually this time of year everybody is enthralled with adding a star to their team, consequences be damned. The fans schmooze them on the Internet and in some cases Twitter, they serenade them with chants and creative signs when they visit. Then dismiss and even trash the player when they don't end up coming to their team. It's the way fandom goes these days.

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Not like this is the first time we've said this, but the Rangers fans are different. They had the chance to warm Nash to MSG this week. Instead of serenading him they pretty much insulted him, chanting "We don't want you!" throughout the game.

Now Rangers fans haven't always been the best at making personnel decisions for their team. They were advocating Sean Avery playing earlier this season. But in this case I think they're on to something.

Would the Rangers and their fans like to have Nash? Of course they would. But should they be willing to pay the price (both in terms of the trade return and the salary) to get Nash? The fans have made their side clear, the brass hasn't yet.

The decision becomes a lot easier for GM Glen Sather and crew if the Jackets are insistent on getting Michael Del Zotto in a deal. In his third year in the league, Del Zotto is growing into one very good defenseman for the Blueshirts. With seven goals and 25 assists, he's 10 points clear of any other Rangers defenseman this season in scoring.

It's believed that any deal for Nash would cost the Rangers somebody like Del Zotto plus perhaps a Derek Stepan, elite prospect Chris Kreider and a draft pick. Brandon Dubinsky's name has also floated around.

In return they get an upgrade to their scoring this season, assuming he'd fit in well. As Brad Richards has shown, there's no guarantee they will get the same kind of production if he moves to the Rangers. Of course he could give better production too.

But with the asking price so high, the risk seems to outweigh the reward. Do people really feel that the Rangers as presently constructed couldn't compete for the Stanley Cup? I know I don't. The risk of bringing in Nash is to lose that contender status while the reward is that they're a Stanley Cup contender. Hmm.

If I'm Slatts, I think I'd pass. If it ain't broke ...

More from Eye on Hockey

Latest on Nash, other deadline rumors
Nash down to five teams?
Nash not untouchable for Columbus

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

Posted on: February 19, 2012 10:59 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:50 am
 

Clock controvery favors Jackets against Rangers

By Brian Stubits

It's a good thing the Columbus Blue Jackets aren't involved in a playoff race this season or else these clock issues would be killing the NHL.

For the second time in a month, the Jackets were involved in a last-second clock controversy in their game against the Rangers in New York. But this time the call went in their favor.

With the second period winding down, Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto beat Jackets goalie Steve Mason and it was originally called a goal. We'll let the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast crew take it from here.

Just in case that video's not working for you, the replays show the puck going in with either 0.1 or 0.2 seconds left. Yet the ruling was no goal, it came after the period had ended. Huh?

That's right, the clock that you see on TV and at games isn't the official clock. As disorienting as that is, the video replay booth is staring at the actual game clock on their feed and in this case, the MSG clock was just a touch behind the actual one, leading to this discrepancy.

Pretty amazing that here we are in 2012 and we still can't have the actual game time on the broadcasts or in the arena. It makes for some unnecessary controversies like this one.

Not to mention it only lends the league to strong criticisms and opens up opportunities for people to start conspiracy theories. This was a makeup call for the Jackets for the blown call in Los Angeles. See how easy that was? There's your conspiracy. Now have fun with it.

The NHL has been looking at the clocks since the infamous situation in L.A. that introduced coulombs and Dean Lombardi's brilliance to everybody. Colin Campbell told Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times that the league is fixing this.

“We will find a way to bleed the clock feed into the overheads now. We have implemented a few other items into the clock process as well to make sure there can be no burps.”

Obviously that hasn't been taken care of yet.

In the end, this turned out to be more or less insignificant. The Jackets did tie the game -- on a Rick Nash goal, no less -- and take it to overtime before losing. So the Rangers still got their two points and the Jackets got one that they likely wouldn't have picked up, but they're so far behind the other 29 teams it doesn't much matter. The only way the controversy will hear its read is if the Rangers fall into a tie situation and regulation wins are taken into account.

It's just something that needs to be fixed and ASAP. It's hard to keep having situations like this from an image standpoint.

H/t to Puck Daddy for the video

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

Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Nash reportedly down to five possible teams

Nash reportedly has a wish list of five teams. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Look what the Columbus Blue Jackets started. Now every few hours there is a new Rick Nash update after word leaked they'd consider trading their captain.

Then again, we can thank them for what they jump-started, too; the NHL trade deadline.

Nash is available at the right price ... for a couple of teams. Five to be exact. Because of his no-trade clause, the Jackets had to ask Nash for a list of team's he'd waive it for to approve a deal. Who's on it? Would he put any big-market teams on there considering he's seemed to enjoy playing in the smaller Columbus market?

Thanks to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch who has been all over this story like the league's discipline offices on Matt Cooke, we have the teams that are believed to be on the approved side.

Boston, Los Angeles, the Rangers, San Jose and Toronto are believed to be on the approved list for Nash — he would have to waive a no-movement clause in his contract before he could be traded — but the return the Blue Jackets seek could vary widely from club to club.

The Rangers and Kings have been the first two teams mentioned with Nash since the rumors began. So it's interesting they're on the list. The Maple Leafs are involved with every big name available in some capacity, so this will only stoke that fire. The Sharks have good friend Joe Thornton. And the Bruins? Well that'd just be unfair.

It goes without saying that this is just one small step for the man. There is still a giant leap or two to go.

It's going to take a lot to get Nash from the Blue Jackets. The good news for the suitors: there isn't really a position the Jackets couldn't use help at. A goalie will be at the front of all the talks, but they need defensemen and help scoring, particularly if they trade Nash and Jeff Carter. Plus, you can never really have enough scoring regardless.

Portzline speculated on what it would take to get the GM Scott Howson to trade Nash, looking specifically at the top two contenders.

The Blue Jackets are said to want at least one young roster player along with a combination of top prospects and quality draft picks. Using that criteria, the Rangers seem to make the most sense, and the New York Post reported on Tuesday that the two sides have had preliminary discussions.

The Rangers have a player the Blue Jackets have pursued for years in forward Brandon Dubinsky, but they’re also stocked with young defensemen — Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Tim Erixon, among others — and forward Chris Kreider, currently playing at Boston College.

The Blue Jackets play on Sunday at the Rangers.

Los Angeles could provide something the Rangers cannot — a top goaltending prospect. Jonathan Bernier, the No. 11 overall draft pick in 2005, has spent the past two seasons as the seldom-used backup to Jonathan Quick. However, the Kings don’t have young prospects to match the Rangers.

Well it sure sounds like a certain President's Trophy contender is in the cat bird's seat here, now doesn't it?

My concern about the Rangers trading for Nash -- aside from the heavy cost -- is the fit. Not that I would foresee any problems with Nash jelling with the Rangers, it's just being wary of messing with a good thing. Obviously the Rangers have that part down pat. They have the best points percentage in the league and are seven points up on everybody else in the East while no team has played fewer games than them.

No doubt adding a little more scoring would help the Rangers this season. If they have an Achilles' heel, it's probably still the offense. I'd just be leery of fixing something that's not broken.

More from Eye on Hockey

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Updating NHL Trade Deadline rumor mill
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For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 1:41 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

By Brian Stubits

In the waning seconds of a 4-1 win by the Rangers over the Florida Panthers, as Ron Burgundy would say, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

With just 10 seconds left and the outcome well in hand, the Panthers' Tomas Kopecky was trying to gain a footing in the crease alongside Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto gave Kopecky a cross check and his stick hit Kopecky in the back of the head, so Kopecky responded with a blow to Del Zotto's head, unleashing a massive scrum.

The hit looked really bad and naturally it prompted a response from the Rangers, particularly Mike Rupp. He began circling around the fracas like a shark in the water, waiting for his chance at Kopecky. Despite the lineman trying to take Kopecky away from the pile, Rupp came in anyway and basically ripped Kopecky from the linesman's grasp and unloaded five haymakers to Kopecky's noggin. Both Rupp and Kopecky were assessed game misconducts (not a lot of punishment with 10 seconds left).

After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella said called Kopecky's hit ''a cheap shot. With no honor.''

But Panthers coach Kevin Dineen stuck up for Kopecky.

"That's hockey. Some guy cross-checks you in the back and then follows through. He deserves a good smash in the face," Dineen said of Del Zotto. "He got what he deserved. Then guys who play five minutes a night, it's typical that they would go and try and grab our skill players. We'll see what the response is."

You can guarantee that this already has the full attention of Brendan Shanahan and the league office. This is one of the dirtiest plays you can pull in hockey, a sucker punch to an opponent. I have a feeling that not even Rupp's vigilante justice that is his right hand will be enough punishment for Kopecky in this case.

There is a little precedent for this under Shanahan, too. Remember back to the preseason when James Wisniewski of the Columbus Blue Jackets threw his own sucker shot on Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. That earned the Wiz a suspension for the rest of the preseason and the first eight regular-season games.

Now Kopecky doesn't have the priors that Wisniewski had on his record, but I'd be surprised if Kopecky didn't earn himself an in-person hearing for this punch. That would mean that a five-games or great suspension would be in play. Rupp could have earned himself a phone call from the league as well.

Mark it down on your calendar now, these teams will meet again, and very soon. Next week, Thursday to be exact, the Panthers head up to MSG for the last meeting of the season between the two and Florida's Krys Barch will be ready for it.

“I’m sure we’ll have a meeting next week in New York,” Barch told the Sun-Sentinel. "You can’t allow that stuff to happen. … That’s just not allowed to go on in terms of a teammate getting jumped like that. We’ll take care of that next week."

More NHL Discipline News Here

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

Posted on: October 3, 2011 8:55 pm
 

Rangers' Staal to miss opening games in Sweden

By Brian Stubits

Now might be the time for New York Rangers fans to begin worrying about their blue line.

Marc Staal, one of the team's alternate captains and a leader among the defensive corps, will miss the start of the season. He won't make the trip to Europe, instead staying back in the State to continue working with doctors as he battles post-concussion symptoms stemming from a hit last season from his brother Eric of Carolina.

Not long ago, the team decided to withhold Staal from the final preseason games as he dealt with the symptoms. But we were told it was just precautionary and Staal would likely join the team for the regular-season openers in Sweden. The message was that it was nothing more than the Rangers being extra careful.

“Marc Staal continues to work with his people [in New York] and he’s not coming on the trip,” Tortorella told the media after the Rangers' 8-4 exhibition loss in Zug, Switzerland. “He will not be [in Stockholm]. He continues to work with the doctors out there, so we thought it was best to leave him alone right now. So he won’t open the season with us.”

You never can tell how players are going to progress as they try and get over post-concussion issues, so it makes sense the Rangers are taking their time. At this point they probably figured it wasn't worth sending him on a plane trip halfway across the globe if they weren't 100 percent on his playing status.

It's not all gloom and doom, though, as Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record and Ranger Rants blog reports, Staal was practicing with the Connecticut Whale. So perhaps he isn't facing a long-term injury stay with an IR visit like Sidney Crosby, but the fact that he still isn't well enough to make the trip and play is of slight concern.

The Rangers would obviously like to get Staal back as soon as they can. Because without him, the Rangers will take on the Ducks and Kings with a defensive corps that consists of Dan Girardi, Steve Eminger, Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Mike Sauer. Hopefully for the Blueshirts, Henrik Lundqvist will thrive being back in Sweden.

Photo: Getty Images

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

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