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ASG recap; Blizzard puts Tuesday in doubt; Looking back and ahead; Center depth trade options; Halverson own goal

Bantering Points for Monday, January 26, 2015. The calm before the storm.

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Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone! I hope you had a lovely All-Star break. Ready for some snow?

All-Star Game

Rick Nash and the NHL All-Stars sometimes dazzled, but often kind of just went through the motions, in a glorified game of shinny on Sunday night in Columbus. All in all, the city was a solid host but the festivities, like past ones, just get way too far away from what hockey is really all about. The players seem to know it and many looked bored with the whole thing. I don't know what they can/should do to improve it, but I guess its really not a big deal either way.

There were some records set along the way, with Team Toews scoring 17 goals. [NHL]  [Puck Daddy]

Alex Ovechkin is an awesome dude. He was pretty much the sole source of entertainment through much of the Fantasy Draft on Friday. He's just a charismatic and fun-loving dude. Hockey is supposed to be fun. So why did he want that car so badly? Well, he had an end-game in mind the entire time. He wanted to donate it to his favorite charity. Honda ended up giving him a car for just that purpose. [Washington Post]

Rick Nash got a healthy dose of boos all weekend. He still did his thing. It was fine. I just got annoyed by the several times broadcasters screwed up and said he signed with the Rangers as a free agent. Come on, guys. Anyway, Nash just cares about his reputation as a Ranger and continuing his outstanding production through the second half of the season. Haters gonna hate. [NY Post]

And maybe Columbus should be thanking Nash for time served in purgatory there for so many years... [Puck Daddy]

Sportsnet's George Stromboulopolopiopolouploilousisuross had a nice casual interview with Rick Nash, Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty. It got beyond the usual "honored to be here, we are doing this for the fans blah blah blah." Check it out. It's fun.

Snow Storm Puts Tuesday's Game in Doubt

So if you haven't heard, the Northeast is going to get some snow over the next several days.

As it stands, there may not be a game on the island on Tuesday. The Rangers and Islanders will practice today at the Coliseum sans their all-stars Nash, John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak, who are all stuck in Columbus. So far, there is no word on whether the game will be played or whether the star players will make it there if it is. Both are in doubt.  [CBS NY]

Pierre McGuire was quoted on TSN 1050 this morning saying the game could be moved to Wednesday night.  [SNY]

Looking Back And Ahead

A list of first-half notes and highlights.  [Blueshirts United]

If the Rangers go 19-15-4 through their last 38 games they will have a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs. [SNY]

Rick Nash's resurgence is a major reason why the Rangers are one of the most dangerous teams in the NHL. Yea, we know.  [USA Today]

Center Depth and Trade Options

Is it time to sign Derek Stepan to a long-term extension? [Bleacher Report]

Do the Rangers need to act now to upgrade center depth? If so, how should they do it? And for what reasons? This article talks about faceoffs which, as you know, are the bane of my existence. It also talks about possibly moving Mats Zuccarello, which gets my hackles up pretty fast. But let's talk about this. What are the options out there. The Rangers are reported to be poking around at Toronto's Mike Santorelli and Arizona's Antoine Vermette. Thoughts?  [Rant Sports]

I would rather see the Rangers go after another Arizona center, Martin Hanzal. He is a giant 6'6" handful and drives play (52.6 SACF%) for a woefully inconsistent offense and defense in the desert (98.6% PDO). His cap hit of $3.1M is fair and he is under contract through 2017, so he retains value going forward. He is just 27 years old. If he can be had, he should be the primary target. And everything in Arizona seems to be up for grabs. So you never know.

And what to do about J.T. Miller? It is a no brainer for me. You play the kid. Let him make his youthful mistakes. Because when he plays, he contributes much more often than he doesn't. So whatever the issue between AV and Miller is, it needs to be resolved. Or maybe he should be the one packaged for a guy like Hanzal.  [NY Post]

Kevin Klein has been having a great season, but the offensive production bubble seems destined to burst because there just isn't a lot about his game that has tangibly changed that much this season. He isn't a killer shutdown defender and isn't a true top 4 guy. Is it time to sell high on Klein? What is the best approach for upgrading defense? Since Dan Girardi is seemingly locked in to a role occupying top four TOI, it would certainly be nice to at least smooth that ice time out across all 6. Adding another top 4 defenseman to the mix would certainly help.  [Blueseat Blogs]


Ranger's goaltending prospect Brandon Halversonrecently rated as the #13 prospect in the system by BSB's Adam Herman, scored an own goal over the weekend and it was BRUTAL. But at least the kid had some fun with it. [Fox Sports]

Halverson own goal

It's 65 and sunny here in Texas. Enjoy the snow! I'm actually missing winter weather. Post your best Girardi snow angels in the comments.