New York Rangers’ Adam Fox wins Norris Trophy as best defenseman

New York Rangers’ Adam Fox has won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman.

Adam Fox has won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman. The award was announced by the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion and two-time Norris winner Brian Leetch.

Fox finished second among defensemen with 47 points (five goals, 42 assists), He was plus-19 in 55 games and led the Rangers in average ice time per game (24:42), more than three minutes more than defenseman Jacob Trouba, who was second (21:29).

 

“There’s definitely too many people to thank just from growing up, youth hockey coaches, skill coaches, skating coaches, everyone who helped me get to this point,” Fox said. “Of course, the Rangers organization just allowing me to play and giving me the opportunity, of course my teammates. It’s an individual award, but without those guys none of it’s possible.”

NHL.com

A first-time finalist for the award, Fox is the fourth different Rangers player to win the award and first since Brian Leetch in 1996-97. Doug Harvey (1961-62), Harry Howell (1966-67), and Leetch (also 1991-92) are the others.

Rangers’ Adam Fox named Norris Trophy finalist

The NHL anounced New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox has been named a Norris Trophy finalist along with Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman and Colorado Avalanche Cale Makar.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox was named a Norris Trophy Finalist on Wednesday morning. The award is given annually to the defenseman voted to have demonstrated throughout the season the greatest all-around ability at the position.

 

The 23-year-old finished second among defensemen in scoring with 47 points (five goals, 42 assists) and was plus-19 in 55 games. He led the New York Rangers in average ice time per game (24:42) and was first among Rangers skaters in power-play ice time per game (3:45) and shorthanded ice time per game (2:36).

Fox has been compared to former Stanley Cup Champion Brian Leetch throughout his young career so it is no surprise to read that he would be the team’s first Norris Trophy winner since Leetch won the award in the 1996-’97 season.

The NHL has not set a definitive date as to when the winner will be announced other than to say it will happen during the semi-finals or Stankey Cup Finals.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi won the Norris Trophy last season.

New York Rangers Announce Ryan Lindgren Extension and Team Awards

Chris Drury has started to assemble the New York Rangers for next season by agreeing to terms with defenseman Ryan Lindgren on a three-year contract. The contract is reported to be at the $3 million AAV.

The 23-year-old Lindgren skated in 51 games with the Rangers this season. He registered one goal and 15 assists for 16 points, along with a plus-20 rating and 35 penalty minutes.

He was one of only three Rangers who recorded 90 or more hits and 50 or more blocked shots this season. At the time he suffered an upper-body injury on Apr. 29, Lindgren was one of only four Rangers (and the only defenseman) who played in each of the team’s first 51 games of the 2020-21 season. He ranked second on the Rangers in average shorthanded ice time this season (2:30), and he currently ranks fifth in the NHL (min. 115:00 of shorthanded ice time) in power-play goals against per 60 minutes of shorthanded ice time in 2020-21 (4.22). Lindgren was not on the ice for a power-play goal against in 20 consecutive games from Jan. 24 at Pittsburgh to Mar. 9 at Pittsburgh (51:30 of shorthanded ice time over the span).

Lindgren also receives a team award from the New York Rangers

The New York Rangers also announced their team award winners for the 2020-21 season today. Adam Fox was named the Rangers’ Most Valuable Player, Lindgren was named the recipient of the Players’ Player Award, and Brendan Smith was named the winner of the John Halligan Good Guy Award.

The Players’ Player Award in 2020-21, which is given annually to the Ranger who, as selected by his teammates, “best exemplifies what it means to be a team player.” Lindgren established career-highs in several categories in 2020-21, including assists, points, plus/minus rating, and hits (98), and he led the team in plus/minus rating this season.

The Most Valuable Player Award was voted on by members of the New York Rangers media and has been given annually since the conclusion of the 1941-42 season. Fox has won the award for the first time in his career. He is the first Ranger who has won the award in one of his first two seasons in the NHL since Henrik Lundqvist in 2006-07, and the first Rangers skater who has done so since Brian Leetch in 1988-89. Fox, who also won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in 2020-21, became the seventh Ranger to be named the Team’s MVP (as chosen by the media) and to receive the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award (as chosen by the fans) since 1987-88, which was the first year the Steven McDonald Extra Award was presented.

The John Halligan Good Guy Award recognizes a player for their cooperation with the media throughout the season. The award has been presented annually since the 1974-75 season and was renamed in 2009-10 to honor the team’s late public relations director. The award recipient is chosen by members of the media who cover the Rangers throughout the season.

Smith skated in 48 games with the Rangers this season, registering five goals and five assists for 10 points, along with a plus-three rating and 73 penalty minutes. He established a career-high in penalties drawn (25) and tied his career-high in goals this season, and he leads NHL defensemen in penalties drawn in 2020-21. The Rangers posted a 25-19-4 record in the 48 games that Smith played this season.

 

 

New York Rangers face the Washington Capitals as playoff elimination nears

The New York Rangers face the Washington Capitals Monday night mathematically still in the playoff hunt but realistically looking towards next season.

Rangers: 26-20-6 (58 pts)
Capitals: 32-14-5 (69 pts

With only four games reaming in the regular season, the New York Rangers welcome the Capitals to MSG Monday night. The Blueshirts will try to rebound following two horrific games against the Islanders where they were shut out in both contests.

The Numbers

The Rangers are 6-4 in their last ten games, 3-3 in their last six games, and currently have lost their last 2 consecutive games.

Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) on May 1 at NY Islanders.
  • New York is tied for 13th in the NHL in power-play efficiency this season (21.1%).
  • The Rangers have recorded a power-play goal in three of the last five games (4-for-12; 33.3%).
  • The Blueshirts have tallied eight power-play goals in the last nine games (8-for-25; 32.0%) and 20 power-play goals in the last 22 games (20-for-62; 32.3%).
  • Since Mar. 22, the Rangers’ 32.3% power play efficiency is the second-best in the NHL.
  • New York ranks third in the NHL in power-play opportunities in 2020-21 (171).r

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-1 (2:00) on May 1 at NY Islanders.
  • The Blueshirts have not allowed a power-play goal in 30 of the last 45 games (111-for-130; 85.4%), including 24 of the last 38 games (89-for-107; 83.2%).
  • The Rangers have killed off 114 of their opponents’ 134 power-play opportunities over the last 46 games (85.1%) and have held their opponents to only 174 shots on goal during their opponents’ 134 power-play opportunities over the span.
  • New York ranks seventh in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (83.1%).
  • The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded goals in 2020-21 (eight).
  • Since Jan. 30, the Rangers’ 85.4% penalty kill efficiency is tied for the second-best in the NHL.

Since Mar. 17, several Rangers are among the NHL’s leaders in various categories:

  • Mika Zibanejad’s 17 goals are tied for the most in the NHL and his 35 points are the second-most in the NHL.
  • Adam Fox’s 29 assists are the most in the NHL, his plus-18 rating is tied for the second-best in the NHL, and his 32 points are the fifth-most in the NHL.
  • Artemi Panarin’s 23 assists are the third-most in the NHL and his 34 points are tied for the third-most in the NHL.
  • Ryan Strome’s 22 assists are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL.

The Adam Fox Effect

Adam Fox tied for the NHL lead in assists in April after leading the NHL in assists in March. According to NHL Stats and Information, he was the first defenseman who either led the NHL or tied for the NHL lead in assists in two consecutive calendar months since Paul Coffey in February and March of 1984. Fox leads NHL defensemen in points (47) and assists (42), ranks third in takeaways (33) and is tied for 10th in plus/minus rating (plus-20) in 2020-21. He has recorded 47 points and a plus-20 rating in 51 games this season after recording 42 points and a plus-22 rating in 70 games last season; only one defenseman in NHL history has recorded 40 or more points and a plus-20 rating or better in each of his first two seasons (Bourque). Fox is averaging 0.82 assists per game this season, which would be the seventh-most by a Rangers defenseman in one season (min. two games played) in franchise history (Leetch – 1.00 in 1991-92; Zubov – 0.99 in 1993-94; Leetch – 0.90 in 1990-91; Leetch – 0.85 in 1995-96; Leetch – 0.83 in 1992-93; Park – 0.83 in 1972-73). According to NHL Stats and Information, only seven defensemen in NHL history have averaged at least 0.80 assists per game in a season while 23 years old or younger (min. 50 games played): Orr (3x), Coffey (3x), Leetch (2x), Zubov, Suter, Potvin, and Bourque. Fox won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award this season.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Pavel Buchnevich – 2 games away from 300 in his NHL career/with the Rangers.
  • Phillip Di Giuseppe – 2 games away from 200 in his NHL career.
  • Mika Zibanejad – 4 goals away from 200 in his NHL career.

The Rangers will conclude their home regular-season schedule on Wednesday night when they host the Washington Capitals.  The Blueshirts will then travel to the Boston Bruins for the last two games of the regular season with games on May 6 and May 8.

Stats provided by NYR PR.

Follow Frank on Twitter @RangerProud

The New York Rangers will need this for success next season

Last night’s loss to the New York Islanders demonstrated one thing about the young New York Rangers: they still have not learned to win big games yet.

This fact became very apparent in the loss to the Isles as the young Blueshirts were manhandled up and down the ice by the veteran rivals.

“They were just on top of us,” Adam Fox said in his post-game Zoom conference. “They were moving a little quicker and cycling the puck real well and just keeping us in the D zone. It was definitely tough to get odd-man chances, or really second chance opportunities, so credit them for that.”

Of course, most of this is that the Islanders are a veteran, playoff battle-tested team. They have had enough players learn how to win big games and make that part of their team’s DNA.

Not so much for the Rangers.

Fox added, “but you can just see the sustained O-zone that they had and retrieving pucks and stuff like that,” he added. “It’s definitely things that we could use in our game.”

The young New York Rangers will need to learn how to win important games.

The first step to this might be learning how to win close games.

Going into last week’s game against the Flyers, the Rangers had dropped 14 of 18 one-goal games, posting a 4-8-6 record. Then they lost that game on April 22 by….you guessed it, a goal.

Head coach David Quinn touched on what his team need’s to do to succeed in big games against good teams. “I think we’ve got to learn from them and do some of the things they (the Islanders) do, a little bit of a mentality that they have, that, you know, they never beat themselves, Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “Now, we’re also built differently, so we’re going to have the ability maybe to score some goals that other teams don’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do all the things other teams can do. That’s what we’ve got to get better at. We’ve got to understand situational hockey better and not get frustrated.”

According to sports psychology expert Dr. Patrick Cohen, most teams fail to win the big game because of expectation and pressure. Cohen also states that teams and players need to prepare for championship moments all season. Practice championship scenarios, and imagine those moments so when you are in those situations. You feel like you have been there before.

This is not new to most in the New York Rangers staff or most staff in most high levels of sports.

It is just something that takes a while to develop, especially with a team as young as the New York Rangers.

Some of these young Rangers will get a chance to start learning this at the NHL level. Injuries to Chris Kreider, Ryan Lindgren, and Brett Howden will lead to more playing time. Saturday night’s game still has some importance. While the playoff door has not quite closed, it may be all but shut and locked with a loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers Shutout in Disappointing Loss to the Islanders

The New York Ranger’s path to the playoffs just ran into a dead end. Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 shots as the New York Islanders shut out the Rangers by the score of 4-0.

With Boston’s win tonight, the Rangers are now six points behind the Bruins. The Rangers have five games remaining and Boston has six, including two against each other.

In a last-ditch effort to get back into the game, the Rangers pulled Igor Shesterkin for a 6-on-4 advantage with about 7 minutes left and trailing 3-0. However, Mathew Barzal came out of the penalty box, picked up a loose puck, and scored into an empty net with 5:34 left.

Shesterkin finished with 23 saves, falling to 0-4-1 in five starts against the Islanders.

The New York Rangers loss to the Islanders was “demoralizing”

Adam Fox described how bad the loss was for the Rangers in his post-game Zoom conference. “Any loss at this part of the season is going to be demoralizing. We still have some games left and it’s a tough situation we put ourselves in but we are going to keep playing hard and try to get some wins.”

Before the game, Fox was named the winner of the 2020-21 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award is presented annually to the Ranger who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” The award, which has been given annually since the 1987-88 season, bears the name of devoted Blueshirt fan and New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986, and passed away on January 10, 2017.

Head coach David Quinn echoed Fox’s statements in his post-game conference. “It’s just disappointing overall. When that team gets a lead they are really tough. I just didn’t love the feel after they scored their first goal. The way they played, it made a long night for us. There wasn’t much to like about our game in any capacity.”

The Rangers and Islanders meet again Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers’ Adam Fox has an uphill battle to win the Norris

Adam Fox of the New York Rangers has certainly done enough to warrant consideration to be the Norris Trophy winner. Fox, who entered Tuesday leading NHL defensemen with 46 points and 41 assists, has totals ahead of runner-up Victor Hedman of Tampa Bay in each category.

Unfortunately, a couple of factors will make it difficult for the 23-year-old defenseman to win the prestigious award.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote at the end of the regular season. Each voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10–7–5–3–1 point(s) system. Three finalists are named, and the trophy is awarded at the NHL awards ceremony after the conclusion of the playoffs.

Fox may likely get the first and second-place votes from most of the PHWA’s writers representing the Rangers.

Larry Brooks, one of the senior members of the PHWA, wrote an excellent article detailing Fox’s credentials to win the Norris.

However, it does not appear that many others are fully aware of those credentials.

The betting markets have Hedman as the favorite to win the trophy. Not surprising, as Hedman is having an excellent year for an excellent team. He is also the 2018 winner of the award. Fox is in second place in these markets.

Many in hockey media seem to downplay what the young New York Rangers defenseman has accomplished.

There are some in the rest of the hockey media who will be voting on the award. A recent article from Travis Yost of TSN is the perfect example of downplaying what Fox has done this year.

The title of the article uses “tight Norris race.” But in actuality, it is an article that looks like it had a lot of help from Tampa Bay’s public relations department.

Yost correctly writes that Hedman is having a strong season – a solid season by Norris Trophy standards, which tend to put extreme emphasis on a player’s usage rates and point totals. Voters have long embraced the notion that the modern NHL defenceman is just as much involved offensively as he is defensively, but how we quantify those contributions tends to vary.

But just before that, Yost writes this. “He (Hedman) is comfortably the best defender on one of the league’s indomitable franchises, plays a ton of minutes in all situations, and is a reliable offensive contributor.”

Hmm.

In fact, Fox is barely mentioned in the article. Outside of the betting charts, Fox is mentioned when Yost writes: “When you start leaning on net goal differential, players like Cale Makar, Shea Theodore, and Adam Fox stand out.”

In the criteria mentioned above, Fox leading all defensemen in points doesn’t matter (reliable offensive contributor). Neither does the fact that Fox does play a lot, ranking 12th in the league at 24:24 per game (plays tons of minutes). The one area that Hedman has an advantage that he plays on a playoff team, something that is not certain for Fox and the Rangers.

Norris voters do historically like to vote for players from playoff-bound teams. However, this is the year that someone of Fox’s caliber should be considered. It is not his fault that a worldwide pandemic has shortened this season.

Even if Fox does not win the Norris, it would be nice for many more in the hockey world to recognize what he has done this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zibanejad’s Hat Trick Propels the New York Rangers to Victory

The New York Rangers got another hat trick from Mika Zibanejad as the Blueshirts defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Kappo Kakko added two goals and Adam Fox contributed three assists to help keep the Ranger’s playoff hopes alive.

The Rangers are now only four points behind the Boston Bruins for the last spot in the playoffs. However, the Bruins have also played two fewer games.

Zibanejad is the only player so far in the NHL who has recorded three hat tricks this season. The Rangers are also the only team in the NHL who has recorded six hat tricks in a season. Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich have added the other ones. He completed the hat trick at 2:05 of the second period, giving the Rangers a 4-1 lead with a shot through the legs of Buffalo goalie Dustin Tokarski.

Kakko scored his first goal with a one-timer from the right circle off a diagonal pass by Fox from the top of the left circle at 12:02 of the first period. His second tally came on a power-play goal to make it 5-2 at 7:06 of the third period. Zac Jones had an assist for his first NHL point.

Kevin Rooney added a shorthanded empty-net goal at 19:05 of the third period for the 6-3 final.

The New York Rangers have won six out of their last eight games

Zibanejad was more focused on what his team accomplished instead of what he did during his post-game interview. “I thought we did what we had to do today. They (Buffalo) made it hard on us.” He also credited his teammate’s passing for most of what he accomplished in the game.

Head coach David Quinn discussed the keys to his team’s success during his post-game Zoom conference. “We need to keep playing meaningful hockey until someone tells us that these games are no longer meaningful. But we need to learn how to manage a hockey game and understanding the score. We have guys that are offensively driven but we are better when we don’t have to force offense. When we find that balance, we are a dangerous team.”

The Rangers and the Sabers will square off again at MSG on Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacob Trouba Takes on a Leadership role for the New York Rangers

During the second intermission of Tuesday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, something interesting happened in the New York Rangers locker room. The Blueshirts had just come off a lackluster second period, holding a slim lead of 1-0. At that point, a voice outside of the regular leadership group spoke up and provided some “words of inspiration” that rallied the team. It was 27-year-old Jacob Trouba who provided that extra spark that led the Rangers to one of their better periods of the season and the 3-0 victory over the Devils.

Teammate Ryan Strome talked about Trouba’s role in his pre-game Zoom conference on Thursday.  “Usually the older guys speak up in the intermission anyway, and Trouba took that initiative,” Strome said, “but I think just for him to take the reins a little bit and have the players control the dressing room for a period, you know, sometimes you can get caught up a little bit in the X’s and O’s and I thought in the second period we were kind of just off our game. I was really proud of the guys who stepped up.”

While Trouba acknowledged his role, he was less forthcoming about what happened. “I thought we needed to play better in the third,” Trouba said Thursday in his Zoom conference. “What happens in the room kind of stays in the room.”

By following an old adage that has been adopted by a certain city in Nevada, we will just have to speculate as to what was said during that time.

Nevertheless, since that time, the Rangers have played quite well in shutting out the Devils on two consecutive nights.

Trouba taking on a senior leadership role for the New York Rangers

While not exactly eligible for an AARP card yet, Trouba is one of the senior members of the team and has started to embrace that role. Something that has not been lost on his head coach.

“He plays hard. He creates a mentality in our locker room and he means an awful lot to us on and off the ice, Quinn said in his pre-game Zoom conference. “People have touched on the leadership aspect that he’s kind of embraced here this year, but I certainly like what’s going on on the ice as well.”

On the ice, Trouba started things going on Thursday night by scoring the first goal inside of one minute into the game.

The deal that the Rangers made on June 17, 2019, is looking really good. On that date, Trouba was traded by the Winnepeg Jets to the Rangers in exchange for Neal Pionk and Winnipeg’s own first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. That pick had been previously acquired by the Rangers in exchange for the Jets receiving Kevin Hayes.

The Rochester, Michigan native also finds himself in the role of mentor to rookie K’Andre Miller and now to the newly added Zac Jones.

Trouba will also continue to be a leader as the team looks to add some new faces on the blue line in the coming seasons.

 

 

 

Shesterkin’s First Career Shutout leads the New York Rangers to Victory

Igor Shesterkin recorded his first career NHL shutout in leading the New York Rangers past the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Shesterkin stopped all 27 shots that he faced.

Shesterkin came out ready to play as he stopped Jesper Bratt with his right pad on a breakaway attempt 22 seconds into the first. He later denied Miles Wood with his blocker on a breakaway attempt at 4:16 of the second period.

Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring for the Rangers with a goal at 7:02 of the first period. He has registered 12 goals since Mar. 17, which is the most in the NHL over that span. He also has scored 12 goals in his last 15 games.

Artemi Panarin scored the second goal, playing in his 100th game as a New York Ranger. That goal gives him 138 total points, passing Mark Messier for the most points by a player in their first 100 career games with the Blueshirts.

Adam Fox had assists on both the Panarin and Zibanejad goals. Not counting what Victor Hedman did tonight, Fox leads NHL defensemen in assists (33) and points (38) this season.

Pavel Buchnevich added an empty-net goal to round out the Ranger scoring. Buchnevich’s score was the 20,000th goal in New York Rangers history. They join the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings to reach the milestone.

Shesterkin was outstanding in goal for the New York Rangers

In his post-game interview, Jacob Trouba had nothing but praise for his goaltender. “He’s been good. Ever since he got here, he has been a top-of-the-line goalie. Every night he seems to make some saves that you don’t expect a goalie to make and usually that is the difference in a game.”

“Igor has been great,” Zibanejad added in his post-game Zoom conference. “It was unbelievable last year as well. I feel that he gives us a chance to win games every night. He comes up with big saves at the right time.”

Shesterkin was pleased and humbled by his first career shutout. “It obviously means a lot,” Shesterkin said in his Zoom conference.  “I want to thank all the players who played in front of me and blocked shots all game, especially at the end when it was so meaningful to me to get this win and the shutout. They did it for me and I’m thankful.”

The two teams will meet for the second game of their four-game series Thursday night at MSG.