Bantering Points: 4/5/17

News and notes for Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

The Rangers are back in action tonight, as they visit the Verizon Center for the first time since October to take on the Washington Capitals. With New York locked into the first Wild Card position, and the Capitals needing one point in their final three games to clinch their second consecutive Presidents' Trophy, look for tonight's game to have more of a pre-season atmosphere than a playoff one. Here are today's news and links:

Rangers News:

  • Brett Cyrgalis discusses how Brady Skjei has risen to the challenge during his first full NHL season (NY Post)
  • Cyrgalis also points out that with New York prioritizing getting healthy over winning down the stretch, the final three games could be ugly (Newsday)
  • Steve Zipay highlights the line of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, and Mats Zuccarello as they heat up heading into the playoffs (Newsday)
  • Game Preview: Rangers fans can get their final glimpse of Kevin Shattenkirk before he arrives on Broadway this summer (CBS)
  • Sean Hartnett notes that after a rough post-season last spring, Dan Girardi is ready to bounce back and be an impact defenseman for the Rangers (CBS)
  • Shayna Goldman argues that Derek Stepan is essential to any success New York could have in the playoffs (FanRag)
  • Dave Shapiro noticed Mats Zuccarello's under-the-radar stellar season, and how nobody else has talked about it (Blue Seat Bogs)
  • Kevin Baumer believes that despite losing large portions of the season to injury, Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad have proven themselves as core pieces moving forward (Blue Seat Blogs)
  • Brandon Cohen thinks the time has come to question Marc Staal's inclusion as a regular in Alain Vigneault's lineup (Blue Line Station)
  • Post Practice Interviews: Alain Vigneault,(2:46) Henrik Lundqvist,(3:01) and Mika Zibanejad (1:15)/

Around the NHL:

  • Matt Cane steps up and defends hockey's WAR (Wins Above Replacement) statistic after it recently came under fire from some contrarians in the hockey community (Hockey Graphs)
  • Sean McIndoe previews the ten best possible first round playoff matchups (Sportsnet)
  • Travis Yost breaks down why the Washington Capitals' depth makes them a tough-luck draw for whoever sneaks into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (TSN)
  • James O'Brien sees that depending on who is asked, the league's participation in the 2018 Olympics may or may not still be up for debate (NBC Sports)
  • Jason Kay writes about how despite skipping the Olympics for the first time since 1994, not all is bad for the NHL (The Hockey Writers)/