Rangers GameDay: News and Notes, Scouting the Blackhawks

Some news and notes heading into tonight's game with Chicago:

The NY Daily News today talks about Sean Avery going back to the top line:

The initial reason was that a two-game audition on the first line for Artem Anisimov showed the rookie center, while improving, isn't ready to handle that sort of two-way responsibility.

After initiating "a couple of very pointed conversations" with Avery in recent weeks, Tortorella also believes the agitating winger has responded by rediscovering his aggressive and grating style to play his most effective hockey of the season over the last several games.

USA Today MVP Poll now has Marian Gaborik at the top, moving up from number 4. Of course this always raises the old question of "can a last place (or close to it) team really have the MVP of the league?"

More after the jump........

Rangers and Blackhawks head-to-head

29 GP 28
14 W 18
14 L 7
1 OT 3
29 P 39
0.500 P% 0.696
2.79 G/G 2.93
3.03 GA/G 2.18
20.2 PP% 21.4
83.9 PK% 84.5
29.1 S/G 32.0
29.9 SA/G 24.4
47.5 FO% 53.5


As you can see, the Rangers have their work cut out for them tonight.

Blackhawks Notes:(courtesy of NHL.com)

After fashioning an eight-game winning streak last month, the Hawks have struggled to regain their groove. Chicago has lost three of its last five games, and much like the Rangers, the Blackhawks' offense, too, is struggling. The Hawks have yet to win in regulation since that eight-game stretch, while scoring only seven goals in the process. An obvious source of concern might be Patrick Kane. While the winger has been setting up teammates, Kane is nearly three weeks removed from his last goal, a game-winner against the Oilers on Nov. 21.

With the exception of longterm injuries to Adam Burish and Dave Bolland, the Hawks will have a full lineup Wednesday.

Patrick Kane's seven-game goal-less streak is his third of five games or more this year. While they are not the longest stretches of Kane's career -- he endured a 12-game drought last December and January -- and Kane does have five assists over his current dryspell it is still a worrisome trend for the Hawks. Kane only had three goal-less streaks of five or more games all last season.

NFL Ruins historic ad campaign for Blackhawks and Bears (Puck Daddy, Yahoo Sports)

Marian Hossa "slowly getting there" (Chicago Trib)

Gaborik the focus of Blackhawks attention (Chicago Breaking News)

For more on the Blackhawks, check out Second City Hockey, the SBNation home of the Chicago Blackhawks

Something new I am going to throw into these previews, just for fun:

SweaterRating: A

Original Six teams always lead the pack when it comes to hockey sweaters, and the Hawks home reds have always been among the best in the league. They also get props for a great Winter Classic sweater.

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