The move comes as a bit of a surprise because of the praise coach John Tortorella lapped on the 24-year-old during the preseason for his improvement over last season. The slight (5-foot-7) Norwegian appeared overwhelmed, at times, and needed to adjust to the smaller rink sizes. He played just under 8 minutes Saturday after playing 7:28 the game before. Zuccarello had one shot on goal with no points on the year.
In reality, Zuccarello was a bit miscast as a fourth liner as he's more of an offense-first player. The amount of penalties the Rangers have taken early on have certainly impacted his ice time, but let's also be honest here: Beyond his shootout prowess, he hasn't been all that noticeable on offense early in his career, and he really doesn't offense much on the defensive side. That's not to say he won't ever be good at the NHL level, but he isn't in a great situation when he's playing 10 shifts a game.
Newbury has has five points (three goals) in three games in the AHL, though he has four goals and four assists in 59 career games. His forte is the physical game, and that he's not afraid to drop the globs. He's definitely a better fit for limited minutes on the fourth line.
He was demoted (and he's injured now), but I can't resist: Paging Sean Avery ...
In the early going of 2011-12 NHL season, the New York Rangers appear to be a bunch that doesn't learn from its mistakes. And the New York Islanders seem to be a young, hungry team that could be on the cusp of taking the next step. Behind John Tavares' hat trick, the Islanders showed the Rangers who's boss on their home turf, winning 4-2.
Through three games, after Saturday's eight, the Rangers have had 19 penalties. That's not a misprint. Just over a minute into the game, the Blueshirts took their first. They had two in that period, four in the second, and three in the third period. As a result, they allowed two power-play goals -- both to Tavares, who, in his third year, seems like a man on a mission. Tavares also had an assist on the Isles' first goal from Matt Moulson in the first period. The 21-year-old, 2009 first-overall pick now has eight points in the past two games.
And for the third game in a row, the penalties cost the Rangers not just because they allowed two goals on the penalty kill, but because their play five-on-five has been solid, yet they've rarely had five guys out there for a sustained period of time to generate anything consistent. It's also beginning to look like the European opponents set New York back to an extent as they haven't shown the same life they did for much of last season.
The Islanders' first goal came after Tavares carried the puck into the zone, lost the handle, but P.A. Parentaeu tapped it over to Moulson who flicked it past Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers tied it up in the second after Derek Stepan forced a turnover, which Brad Richards turned into an up-ice pass to a breaking Marian Gaborik who shot it through Evgeni Nabokov's legs. Tavares scored five minutes later on the man advantage, but New York answered with 1:34 remaining as a Brandon Prust wrap-around deflected off defenseman Franz Nielsen's skate.
Tavares tallied his most impressive goal on a deft deflection off a Mark Streit shot. He'd get the hat trick on an empty net.
Credit the Islanders for attacking the Rangers from the get-go and not backing down, but shame on the Blueshirts for being so undisciplined. You don't deserve to be in games -- which the Rangers were -- when you're constantly playing a man down. Until then, it will be nearly impossible to win any games, no matter the opponent.
The New York Islanders look to make it three straight wins when they host crosstown rivals, the New York Rangers Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The Islanders have relied on the goaltending of Al Montoya and the playmaking of P.A. Parenteau and John Tavares to get off to a strong start. Montoya has allowed four goals in three games while compiling a 2-1-0 record, and Parenteau and Tavares share the team lead with four points apiece. Tavares scored two goals and added two assists in a 5-1 win Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.