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Tag:New York Rangers
Posted on: September 12, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 11:58 am
 

Rangers name Ryan Callahan new captain

By Brian Stubits

The New York Rangers have made their selection to replace Chris Drury as the team's next captain, giving Ryan Callahan the honor of wearing the C. Marc Staal and newcomer Brad Richards were selected as the alternates.

"Ryan Callahan embodies all the leadership qualities we seek from our Captain," Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather said. "He leads by example with courage and tireless work ethic on and off the ice, which is why he is so deserving of this honor."

Callahan was the odds-on favorite to take over the lead role. He has been wearing the A since October of 2009. There was some wondering if Richards would be considered, but based on the fact he hasn't dressed in a Rangers sweater on the ice yet, his shot seemed long.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., Callahan is the second straight American-born captain for the Blueshirts after Drury, who hails from Connecticut, held the title. Callahan is only the third American to be named captain of the Rangers.

"It's a privilege & an honor ... I'll approach it the same as wearing the A ... it's a bit of a surreal feeling," Callahan said.

Callahan had his best point total last season despite playing in only 60 games for New York. He scored 23 goals and had 25 assists all while suffering through a broken hand mid-season and a broken ankle that ended his season in Game 79.

At just 26 years old, Callahan has the chance to wear the C for a long time to come, starting with the next three years after signing an extension with the Rangers this offseason.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Letter to Flyers fans includes Winter Classic

FlyersWC

By: Adam Gretz

Even though there hasn't been an official announcement from the NHL or any of the teams involved, it hasn't exactly been a well-kept secret that the 2012 Winter Classic will be played in Philadelphia with the Flyers hosting the New York Rangers on Jan. 2.

This week the Flyers organization sent a letter to its season ticket holders all but confirming the Winter Classic will in fact take place in Philadlphia on that date. According to Sarah Baicker of CSN Philadelphia, the letter includes the following section:
“The Flyers will host the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic! You will notice that only 43 games are included in your ticket and parking book(s). Winter Classic tickets are not a part of your 2011-12 season ticket package. However, all full season ticket holders will have the ability to purchase up to same number of Winter Classic Packages as 2011-12 full season seats you own.”
It's pretty much guaranteed the venue will be Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, as the football stadium in Philadelphia -- Lincoln Financial Field -- will be occupied the day before for a game between the Eagles and Washington Redskins. There is absolutely zero chance the stadium can be transferred over to hockey in that amount of time. Preparations in recent years (Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago and Buffalo) have taken more than a week.

It will be the second time in three years the Flyers will be involved in the now annual outdoor game, having visited the Boston Bruins at Fenway park during the 2009-10 season. The Bruins won the game in overtime, 2-1, thanks to a goal from Marco Sturm. Even though this will only be the fifth year for the Winter Classic the Flyers are the second team to get another outdoor appearance, joining their cross-state rivals from Pittsburgh who have also played in the game twice (they hosted Washington last year and played in the innagural game in Buffalo).

It will be the Rangers first appearance in the game.

Photo: Getty Images

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


Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:45 am
 

Dail Skate: Vancouver keeps searching for rioters

By Brian Stubits

STILL SEARCHING: I guess the Vancouver police were serious about wanting to bring all of the people responsible for the post-Stanley Cup riot to justice. Some of the offenders already came forward and admitted to their deeds after the Canucks lost Game 7 and the Cup. But plenty more have gone thus far unpunished. That's why the Vancouver police have set up this website with photos of some offenders asking the public for help identifying the people so they can face their punishment.

LENGTHY NEGOTIATIONS: The Kings are still trying to find common ground with defenseman Drew Doughty, so to do so, they are reportedly giving Doughty more options concerning the length of the prospective deal. Helene Elliott at the L.A. Times has the full story, including this take from Kings G.M. Dean Lombardi: "Everything's been amicable. We're waiting to hear back from them. They said they'd get back to us in a day or two." Maybe there's an end in sight after all?

FORMAL FILING: Also from Elliott at the L.A. Times in the same Doughty story, the Kings have filed their grievance with the with the NHL over the deal with the Oilers that had Colin Fraser going to L.A. in exchange for Ryan Smyth. “The Edmonton Oilers have a few days to respond. Commissioner Gary Bettman will then decide whether to hold a hearing, though Lombardi said the Kings can request one.” So it continues.

SPREAD THE LOVE: Yesterday's Daily Skate touched on the Devils considering retiring Scott Niedermayer's number. Now the O.C. Register is wondering if the Ducks shouldn't do the same thing? Niedermayer only played five seasons with the Ducks, but he was a big reason why Anaheim brought home the Stanley Cup.

PROSPECT WATCH: Wondering how the advancement of Rangers prospects is coming along? The New York Rangers blog has an update on defensemen Tim Erixon, who insists he has a true two-way game as he makes a push for the roster. Then there's a little nugget about Dylan McIlrath as well.

A LITTLE LOVE: Bryan Little isn't seeming to have any problems getting acclimated to life in Winnipeg. He is enjoying the passion and support the hyped-up Jets fan base is showing, with Go Jets Go! chants at every turn. From the Winnipeg Sun: “The province is so pumped about having a team back, and that just gets all of us, the players, just more excited to play,” Little said.

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

Posted on: August 29, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Eastern Conference spots seem set for some time

By Brian Stubits

Sometimes simple and obvious things just hit you. Things you had realized before but for some reason they jump to your attention again. It tends to happen a lot more often during the lazy hockey days of summer.

That's exactly what happened when I began to think about the makeup of hockey markets/organizations, particularly in the Eastern Conference. What popped into my head was the fact that the contenders this season are likely to be the same as they were last season, and for the most part the same they were the season before that. And it's likely they will remain the contenders for the season after next, too.

At that moment I realized the NHL is starting to resemble the NBA in a way. And that's not good. One of the biggest reasons the NBA is in a lockout that seems to have no end in sight (Ken Berger and the Eye on Basketball guys have that covered) is the very issue that only a handful of teams enter every season with a chance to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Everybody's favorite stat about the (lack of) parity in the NBA is the simple fact that since 1984, only eight different organizations have won the championship. That's eight teams in 28 seasons.

Now look at the Eastern Conference in hockey. The Capitals have been atop their division for four straight seasons. The Penguins and Flyers are perennial contenders. Same goes for the Bruins while the Rangers, Canadiens and Sabres are regulars in the 5-8 range in the standings.

Of course that leaves teams like the Islanders (four-year playoff drought), Maple Leafs (six-year drought), Jets/Thrashers (one appearance in franchise history), Hurricanes (perennial contender for first runnerup these days) and the Panthers (10-year drought) to fend at the bottom.

So where do these teams fit? When you have a team like the Islanders seeming ready to step up and compete for the playoffs, who are they going to surpass? The Eastern Conference is full of traditional hockey markets in the American northeast and Canada, big markets either in hockey-crazy cities and ones with rich histories. The West has a few of those as well -- namely Vancouver, Detroit and Chicago -- but not as many as the East.

But have a look at the chart below detailing the past four seasons. Five teams have made the playoffs in each of those seasons and four teams have failed to advance beyond the regular season even once.

Last four seasons
Team Average finish (Eastern Conference) Playoff appearances 2011-12 payroll (capgeek.com)
Capitals 1.75 4 $65,190,128
Penguins 3.5 4 $62,737,500
Bruins 4.5 4 $56,682,976
Flyers 5 4 $64,124,761
Devils 5 3 $58,429,167
Canadiens 5.75 4 $59,770,510
Rangers 7.25 3 $62,935,334
Sabres 7.5 2 $67,895,357
Hurricanes 8.75 1 $49,775,000
Senators 9 2 $51,845,834
Lightning 11.5 1 $59,326,083
Maple Leafs 12.25 0 $59,115,000
Jets/Thrashers 12.25 0 $48,284,166
Panthers 12.25 0 $49,882,042
Islanders 13.75 0 $45,970,166

You get the feeling that at least five spots are locks in the East this year with two more almost assuredly the same. In the lock category you start with four of the five teams that have been staples: The Capitals, Penguins, Flyers and Bruins. Add in the up-and-coming Lightning for good measure. Hard to imagine any of those five not making it this season. In the next two spots I think you can add the Rangers and Sabres. With new owner Terry Pegula, the Sabres seem destined to become another playoff regular. These are teams that all improved (or in the case of Boston, didn't have to improve, but more or less stay in tact after winning the Stanley Cup) and were already playoff caliber.

By my stellar mathematical abilities, that leaves one spot essentially up for grabs. Among the group fighting for it will be the Canadiens (the other team to make it each of the past four seasons), Devils and, well, the rest of the conference. Outside of the Senators who are building for a few years from now and maybe the Jets, every team in the conference looks to be better now then they were at the end of last season.

And here's the thing: I don't see how it will be easy to unseat these teams at the top of the conference. Sure, you will have the occasional team slipping through like the Lightning. To extend the analogy back to the NBA, that's like the Oklahoma City Thunder building after years of struggle to a competitive level. But they still have to fight through the Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs, all of which are almost guaranteed to be in the hunt. It's hard to imagine a time when the Lakers won't be contenders, and when they have been (post-Shaquille O'Neal) they rebuilt in a hurry and won the title shortly thereafter.

That's what I'm seeing for the Eastern Conference, that kind of perennial favorite similarity. It makes sense, obviously. The best free agents will want to go to the best teams in the best hockey cities and the biggest pay checks. That's to be expected. And that's a huge reason why these teams are able to stay above the equator. It doesn't hurt to have the infrastructures they all have at their disposal, too. From fan support to smart organizational minds and moves, they win more often than not. Success begets success. It's no coincidence that these are also the teams most heavily featured on national TV.

Let's look at the Capitals. Owner Ted Leonsis has been mentioned his 10-to-15-year plan ... not a plan that calls for 10-to-15 years to win the Cup (although it's starting to look that way) but instead to keep the Caps a Cup contender for that time. And because Washington D.C. has shown itself to be a strong hockey market and is appealing to free agents, it's easy to see how the Caps can sustain that. You have a young Alexander Ovechkin on your roster? Lock him up! Just throw a 13-year contract in front of one of the sport's best players and he's aboard for the long haul. Try and do the same when you're in Tampa Bay and you have a situation where you are only able to secure Steven Stamkos for five seasons.

The reasons are obvious, much the same as the Yankees in baseball (and now the Red Sox). You can pen each of those teams into the playoffs before the season even starts and you are most likely going to be right. But this isn't supposed to happen in hockey, not with a supposedly game-evening hard salary cap. It's just the inherent advantages are too tough for a lot of teams to compete with. Essentially, the margin for error is razor thin for the lesser markets/organizations.

Toronto is the exception (sorry Leafs fans) to the big-market success model. It is probably the best hockey market in the NHL, has an incredibly devoted fan base and has not been afraid to spend. But even the Leafs are struggling these days to break that glass ceiling and butt their way into the playoffs. They couldn't beat out the Rangers for Brad Richards' services in free agency.

Now this is why they play the game. You can't lock in these teams to the playoffs. After all, who saw that Devils season coming last year? You still have to earn your way into the postseason. But if you are a fan of one of the bottom-feeders in the East, I'd suggest you cool your jets. The East's upper echelon is pretty well full of NHL aristocrats. The competition will be better and the spots will likely be more fiercely fought for, but it will be hard to break through.

In the West you can hear the mid-level teams saying "welcome to our world."

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Daily Skate: National TV partners; remaining FAs

By Brian Stubits

MADE FOR TV GAMES: If you had one guess as to the most nationally televised matchup in the NHL since 1994, what would you pick? If you said Rangers-Flyers, you got it, and it's not even close. Puck The Media has compiled a list of the national broadcasts going back to 1994 and Rangers-Flyers takes the cake by eight games over Penguins-Flyers. Take a look at the whole list here. Notice a lot more mixtures containing the Rangers, Flyers and Red Wings. Earth shattering there, we know.

FREE AGENTS STILL FREE: Don't forget there are still some free agents floating out there looking for work. Guys like Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman, Teemu Selanne and Chris Campoli haven't found contract offers as of yet. So Down Goes Brown helps the teams still shopping by providing a buyer's guide to the remaining players that is full of gems like this: Chris Campoli, the good: Is known as a puck-moving defenceman, which presumably makes him more valuable than a defenceman who insists on keeping the puck stationary at all times.

TOMAS THE TANK: The Panthers' rebuilding efforts were hardly met with universal praise across the hockey world. The majority of people outside of South Florida saw a bunch of overpriced, mediocre signings instead of impact spending. But Dale Tallon doesn't feel that way (of course not), especially about his most expensive forward addition, Tomas Fleischmann. Tallon told the Miami Herald that "[Fleischmann] hasn't reached his peak yet and numbers are just going to go up."

STILL LOOKING TO STRIKE OIL: The Oilers are still trying to work their way back up the Western Conference standings, and the best way to do that will be to get better in the defensive end. David Staples of the Edmonton Journal isn't exactly optimistic that will happen this season. Where he's holding out his hope is that the young defensemen will be better with another season because there isn't much else to inspire a feeling of blue line growth. He also has an injury update on the "lanky Yankee" Ryan Whitney.

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

Posted on: August 20, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Daily Skate: A call to ban all body contact

By: Adam Gretz

JUST ELIMINATE EVERYTHING: An editorial penned by Ken Gray of the Ottawa Citizen talks about what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should do if he were really brave to cut down on the number of head injuries, and brings up the possibility of banning all hits to the head, fighting and, yes, even body contact. I'm pretty sure that's never going to happen. I will, however, admit that there may come a point where fighting and/or hits to the head get banned completely, but all body contact just doesn't seem possible -- or likely -- for the NHL game.

CHICAGO'S BACKUP GOALTENDER COMPETITION: Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune looked at the Blackhawks backup goaltender competition last week that will involve youngster Alexander Salak and veteran Ray Emery, who will be appearing in camp on a tryout contract. Corey Crawford, a rookie last season, is penciled in as the starter after a promising debut season and strong performance in his first playoff appearance.

NEW YORK STILL ON THE HOOK FOR DRURY BUYOUT: Chris Drury announced his retirement on Friday, and as Brian Stubits mentioned in his post on the subject, Drury's buyout from earlier this summer still counts against the Rangers' salary cap over the next two seasons. Joe Fortunato at Blueshirt Banter has some thoughts on that, and figures it was unavoidable since Drury probably wasn't planning on retiring when the Rangers bought him out.

AEBISCHER GETS A TRYOUT WITH WINNIPEG Former NHL goaltender David Aebischer will be getting a tryout contract with the Winnipeg Jets in training camp this season, but as Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press writes, he's an extreme long shot to make the team with Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Mason already on the roster. He last appeared in the NHL during the 2007-08 season with the Phoenix Coyotes, and has spent the last four seasons in Switzerland.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 3:20 pm
 

Former NHL D-man Kasparaitis coaching in Sweden

By Brian Stubits

Here's a blast from the not-so-distant past. Darius Kasparaitis, former Islanders, Rangers, Avalanche and Penguins defenseman, is continuing his transition into coaching in Sweden.

The native of Lithuania last played in the NHL with the Rangers back in the 2006-07 season before he was waived and eventually loaned to SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. He had a very short stint working as an assistant coach for SKA, but his contract expired after six months.

So his new role is one that will put him in a position to really teach. Here's the story from the Swedish website hockey.expressen.se.

Considering I don't speak a lick of Swedish (I don't think the word Abba counts), I turned to a friend who happens to hail from Sweden. Here was his summary.

Kasparaitis joined AIK, a hockey team in Sweden's top division based in Stockholm, as a defenseman coach for the club's junior teams (junior meaning high school-college level). In this capacity, he will arrange training sessions once or twice a week, instructing on techniques particular to the defense position. Anders Gozzi, the AIK GM, explains that the hiring follows on the success he perceives that the team has had with similar special training sessions for goalies. If all goes well, Kasparaitis may move on to coaching the senior level players as well.

So there you have it. It's a true proving ground for Kasparaitis.

No word on if he'll be teaching them his way of checking.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Chris Drury announces retirement after 12 seasons

By Brian Stubits

Chris Drury is retiring from hockey. He made the announcement through the NHLPA on Friday morning.

Drury, the Rangers captain, was bought out by New York and didn't find work after that. There had to be concerns about the degenerative condition in his knee that limited him to only 24 games last season and one goal.

Drury's best season came in 2006-07 with the Sabres. That season he scored 37 goals and had 32 assists.

He was also on hand for some of the Avalanche's best seasons, playing his first four years in the NHL in Colorado until 2001-02, winning the Stanley Cup with the Avs in '01. The following year he was traded to Calgary where he had a short stint with the Flames.

Adrian Dater of the Denver Post offers up a fond farewell to one of the key parts to the Avs' Cup run. Here's a taste:

Drury was beloved by Avs fans, even after he left in that ill-advised trade to Calgary in 2002. He was a heart-and-soul guy with a major knack for scoring clutch goals. At one point I remember writing, he had eight game-winning or overtime playoff goals with Colorado.

It hardly seems possible his career is finished. I can still remember the first time he came to Avs camp back in 1998, just a doughy-faced kid not that far removed from being a Little League World Series hero for his town of Trumbull, Conn. I remember his first Burgundy-White game down in Colorado Springs, when he immediately got challenged to a fight by Pascal Trepanier. Drury aced his first rite of passage by standing up for himself – something almost every NHL rookie has to do at some point.

He ended up in Buffalo and had a very strong three seasons with the Sabres. At that point, though, he became a free agent and signed with the Rangers, his hometown team considering his roots stem from Trumbull, Conn. When Jaromir Jagr left the Blueshirts, Drury was bestowed the C on his jersey, making him just the second American-born captain in Rangers history.

NHL writer Andy Strickland says this was a decision Drury knew was coming for some time. "Chris Drury has known he would be retiring for several weeks ... had a great career who delivered when it mattered." Strickland also shot down any notions that Drury had been in discussions with the Maple Leafs at any point about playing in Toronto. "There was speculation several weeks ago that Drury had met with Toronto GM Brian Burke...tis was 100% wrong ... never happened "

Unfortunately, such an injury made the decision somewhat easy for Drury to make -- from a decision standpoint, not emotional.

Because he had two years left on his contract, the Rangers will have Drury hitting the cap over that time. According to capgeek.com that will mean the Rangers will take a $3.72 million hit next season and a $1.67 million hit in 2012-13.

Among the reactions on Twitter came this tweet from Rangers backup goalie Marty Biron: "Congrats to a friend and teammate on a great career. Chris Drury, you'll always be one of the best captain I've had the chance to play with."

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