Rangers News: Game Day updates
As the Rangers get ready to take on the Devils tonight in Newark, here are some notes for today:
Steve Zipay had some thoughts from John Tortorella on the Rangers quest for a 7th defenseman:
"I'm not gonna lie to you, sure it is. It is a concern, I'm sure something will give sooner or later. We need to do our due diligence. To me, if it's a guy who has some warts, as some of a young kid in our organization, I'd rather keep it within our organization...I don't think that's a really good situation for us. Obviously, we'd like to try to get some sort of veteran who can help out. You can't force-feed that position continually, as young as we are right now. That's why it's taking some time, we want to find the right guy that understands that role while we get to continue to develop our young guys along the way."
To revert back to the conversation in the Michael Del Zotto story from this morning, the Rangers have to take their time with this; they don't want to find themselves overpaying for a 6th or 7th defenseman. Semenov would have really been the perfect fill in, but it didn't work out. Hopefully another name will present itself. For now, I think the best thing for the Rangers is to live and die (and it will be a lot of both) with what they have. Becoming a younger team is not going to happen without its growing pains. Ranger fans don't have to see wins every night, but we do like to see effort, and I think we'll get that every night from this group.
Tortorella also told Zipay that Chris Drury will see some power play time:
"Dru will get some power-play time along the way but right now I think those six forwards who are playing it now deserve the time," Tortorella said after a team meeting this morning in Westchester. "I think (Enver) Lisin has played very well on the power play and has done some really good things offensively there and 5-on-5. Our team has changed a bit as far as personnel. I think he (Drury) will get some time. It's something I'm going to monitor, as far as the finish. To me, he is not a half-wall guy. He's a guy who has done his thing around the net, tipping in goals, banging in rebounds. it's something I have to consider if we don't get finish."
More after the jump.....
Also, Andrew Gross has some thoughts on the Rangers Power Play:
So far, the Rangers are 0-for-9 with a man advantage, including Friday’s season-opening 3-2 loss at Pittsburgh, leaving them as one of five teams without a power-play goal. Last season, the Rangers finished 29th in the NHL at 13.9 percent (48-for-346).
But much of their problem last season was a reluctance to take power-play shots. That hasn’t been the issue this season: More than a third of the Rangers’ shots (22 of 61) have come on the power play.
Tortorella hasn’t quite settled on a power-play first unit just yet, though the forward combination of Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal has been used frequently with right wing Ales Kotalik and rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto on the points.
My take on the power play is similar to Andrew's. The results haven't shown on the scoreboard yet, but the difference is night and day from last year. Last year's power play was often this: Redden brings the puck over the blue line, fakes a shot, fakes a pass, fakes a shot, passes to Michal Rozsival, who repeats the process. Eventually a shot would be taken, blocked, and cleared. This year, the puck is constantly moving. Players are instantly shooting the puck, or passing it. It's much more "bang-bang" then it was last year. The goals will come.
In a thinly veiled shot at the team on the Island, Mark Hermann in Newsday says the Iconic Rangers are here to stay, win or lose:
While one neighboring team is demanding a new arena and the other is playing in one, the Rangers still are the longest- running attraction on Broadway. They are the Tonight Show of local hockey. Faces change - 19-year-old defenseman Michael Del Zotto scored his first NHL goal last night - but the big show keeps rolling. When the fans chant "Hen-rik," for Lundqvist, it sounds like "Ed-die," for Giacomin.
As the Madison Square Garden public address announcer said during the Rangers' rousing 5-2 win over the Senators, "It's the tradition we honor tonight, the tradition we continue tonight." Of course, the fans knew that. The Rangers aren't like New York's oldest franchise, the Yankees, whose attendance depends on winning. The Rangers are more like the Giants (est. 1925), whose fans keep showing up because they just want to.
NHL.com says Marian Gaborik is paying quick dividends for the Rangers.
[Note by Jim Schmiedeberg, 10/05/09 12:33 PM EDT UPDATE: Not that I think there was much question, but Andrew Gross is reporting on the tweets that Lundy will be in goal tonight]