2 Total Updates since November 3, 2011
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
There's no harm in adding depth (re: competition) to the roster, especially when a team is missing its best defenseman. On Thursday evening, blueliner Anton Stralman agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal with the New York Rangers, further clarifying the doubts the organization has in Marc Staal returning any time soon. The news was originally tweeted by TSN's Bob McKenzie. Stralman's agent, Marc Levine, also confirmed the deal to ESPN NY's Katie Strang, though the team has not made an official announcement yet.
"I know we're talking to him," John Tortorella said after Thursday's 2-1 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks as quoted by NY Daily News' Pat Leonard. "I'm not sure what's happened there. I know there's been some conversation with [Rangers GM] Glen [Sather], but I don't know if anything's been finalized."
The Record's Tom Gulitti reported Oct. 24 that the Rangers had made the offer. Regardless of whether the Rangers were the only real suitors, the 25-year-old Swede probably realizes New York presents a legitimate chance for NHL ice time. And if he impresses enough, maybe the former Toronto Maple Leaf and Columbus Blue Jacket earns himself another contract and stability within the league next season.
By no means is Stralman a world saver. There's obviously a reason why he was not on a team this year, despite being with the New Jersey Devils during training camp. But the Rangers had just six defensemen on their roster, after sending 20-year-old rookie Tim Erixon down to the American Hockey League for more seasoning.
There's a benefit to having an extra defenseman (and forward) on the roster with some NHL experience. Coach John Tortorella is notorious for continuously shuffling the sixth defenseman in and out of the lineup based on their play, when he has that ability. Competition, even for a guy that will play 10 minutes a game, is still a good thing. Jeff Woywitka, who had his first goal as a Ranger on Thursday, and Steve Eminger will be the guys most likely affected by this signing. Plus, if a defenseman has some bumps and bruises and a night off would serve them well, Tortorella now has the ability to sit him.
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound Stralman, a right-handed shot, has 11 goals and 63 assists in his career, and had one goal and 17 assists with Columbus last season.
Before Thursday's game, Tortorella had no update on Staal's status, according to a report on NHL.com.
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
Marian Gaborik was the best player on the ice when the New York Rangers played the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday evening. He generated a game-high seven shots and a number of high-percentage scoring chances. But he couldn't buy a goal until he was thrust into a situation you'd least expect him to excel in: the shootout, which he'd scored in only two of 19 times prior.
Gaborik's shootout marker on a slick double-deke past Jonas Hiller propelled the Blueshirts to a 2-1 win over the Ducks and capped a thoroughly dominating night from the Slovak, which included an assist on Jeff Woywitka's first goal as a Ranger, his ninth of his career, in the first period. All night long, Gaborik displayed his world-class speed and his quick release, yet he couldn't solve Hiller until his last possible chance.
Erik Christensen, who played 8:41 on the fourth line and was quiet all game, tallied the first goal in the shootout, on his patented front-to-one-handed-backhander move.
Perhaps the most encouraging signs from the Rangers in the win was that they had one giveaway all game. They were outshot 28-25, but the defense played a solid game and didn't hand wrap any sure opportunities to the Ducks. The Blueshirts also only took two penalties, but they were also unable to convert on four of their own chances.
New York lost the first game between these two teams in Europe, 2-1 in a shootout, but that was a time in which the Rangers were really fighting it and it was a miracle they even got a point then. For the second game in a row, despite not a lot of scoring, New York played a pretty complete game, with all sorts of players contributing to gain the win
. Woywitka's goal from Gaborik was a result of the defenseman realizing the Rangers had some traffic in front, and pounding a shot past Hiller. It capped one of New York's better periods, as they limited the Ducks to a season-low two shots, while the Blueshirts had 10.
Anaheim found their game a bit more in the second period, but it wasn't until less than 2 minutes remained in the period that Bobby Ryan ripped a top-shelf goal over Henrik Lundqvist's right shoulder. Lundqvist had 27 saves in the victory, his first in four games.
The Ducks built on their late second-period momentum with an excellent third period, outshooting the Rangers 15-4. Lundqvist was superb in keeping the game tied, and giving the Rangers at least a point.
Even though the shot advantage was only 2-1 in the overtime, the Rangers flipped their game to another gear, with several near-game-ending chances that just would not find the twine. Instead, the skills competition had to be the deciding factor.