The New York Rangers roll for a Second Straight win over New Jersey

Artemi Panarin scored two goals and added an assist to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Blueshirts started the game hot as they scored three of their goals in the first period.

Igor Shesterkin shut out the Devils for the second game in a row, stopping all 16 shots. This was the first time that a Ranger goaltender has shut out a team in two consecutive games since it was last done in 1955.

Ranger nation was a little worried when the team announced that Panarin missed the morning skate due to maintenance. However, head coach David Quinn confirmed that he would be playing on Thursday night.

Quinn seemed very prophetic about Panarin’s performance as he discussed his star player in his pre-game Zoom conference.  “Artemi is a special player. There are not a lot of players in this league that can do what he does.”

Panarin scored the third and fourth goals for the Rangers. Jacob Trouba started the scoring for the Rangers and Ryan Lindgren tallied his first goal of the season for the first two Ranger tallies. Panarin has posted seven different three-point games at MSG this season. He is the first Ranger to post at least seven three-point games at home in the same season since Jaromir Jagr in 2006-07.

Colin Blackwell continues to do well with his promotion to Panarin’s line, adding three assists for the Rangers. Blackwell has established single-game career-highs with three assists and three points. Blackwell and Panarin were on the ice for each of the Ranger’s four goals.

The New York Rangers defensive unit has been excellent in all aspects.

In addition to Shesterkin’s fine play, the Rangers defense played well in front of him. The Blueshirts only allowed the Devils three shots in the first period and four shots in the third. The  Rangers were also credited for blocking 20 shots in the game.

The unit has not only been solid in their defensive end, but they have also contributed on the offensive end as well. Five different defensemen have tallied a goal over the last four games (K’Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, Brendan Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren), and each of the six NYR defensemen (Adam Fox, Miller, Hajek, Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren) have recorded a goal over the last six games.

Leading this offensive output has been Fox, who recorded his 35th assist of the season, establishing a career-high. He is the first Ranger defenseman 23 years old or younger to tally at least 35 assists in a season since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.

The two teams meet again in a Saturday afternoon matinee at MSG.

 

 

 

New York Rangers have schedule change due to the Devils’ COVID-19 issues

The NHL has announced that changes have been made to the New York Rangers‘ 2020-21 schedule, mostly based on the COVID-19 issues that have forced the New Jersey Devils to postpone recent games. Saturday night’s game between the Rangers and the Devils was one of the games postponed.

-The Rangers’ game originally scheduled for Feb. 6 against the New Jersey Devils at New Jersey is now scheduled for Mar. 4 at 7:00 p.m.

-The Rangers’ game originally scheduled for Mar. 4 against the New Jersey Devils at MSG is now scheduled for Feb. 16 at 7:00 p.m.

-The Rangers’ game originally scheduled for Feb. 16 against the Philadelphia Flyers at MSG is now scheduled for Feb. 14 at 6:00 p.m.

-The Rangers’ game originally scheduled for Mar. 5 against the New Jersey Devils at New Jersey is now scheduled for Mar. 6 at 1:00 p.m.

On Wednesday, the NHL placed three more Devils on the COVID-19 protocol list, bringing the total number of players on the list up to 17.

Being placed on the list doesn’t necessarily mean a player has tested positive for the coronavirus. Players can also go into the league’s protocols if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The NHL postponed three Devils games through today, which includes the scheduled game against the Rangers. If players continue to join the list, it’s possible the league could postpone more games. The Devils are currently slated to resume play on Tuesday, Feb. 9, but recent reports have stated that this game against the Pittsburgh Penguins may also be in jeopardy.

 

 

 

 

Former New York Rangers’ radio voice, NHL announcing legend, “Doc” Emrick retires

Mike “Doc” Emrick is leaving the broadcast booth after a play-by-play career that dates back to 1973, Emrick and NBC Sports announced in a shared statement Monday. In addition to his many duties calling NHL teams for a variety of teams and networks, Emrick called more than 100 New York Rangers games on WNBC/WFAN Radio from 1983-88.

Emrick also served as the New Jersey Devils first voice, arriving for the 1982–83 NHL season, and stayed there until 1986. In 1993, he returned to the Devils to replace Gary Thorne and continued to be the Devils’ voice until July 2011.  He announced the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup victory alongside color commentator and current Ranger’s president John Davidson for the national United States broadcast on Fox.

“I hope I can handle retirement OK, especially since I’ve never done it before,” Emrick told the New York Post. “But I’ve just been extremely lucky for 50 years. And NBC has been so good to me, especially since the pandemic when I was allowed to work from home in a studio NBC created.

“Now, into my golden years, this just seemed to be the time that was right.”

Emrick joined NBC Sports on a full-time basis in 2011, after serving as the television voice of the New Jersey Devils for the previous 18 seasons (21 overall), and is the lead play-by-play voice for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage. Emrick joined NBC Sports’ NHL coverage in the 2005-06 season, is currently in his 47th year covering professional hockey, including nearly 40 in the NHL, and has called more than 3,750 hockey games in his broadcast career.

Emrick has called some of the most important and most-watched games in the modern era of hockey, including:

-the most-watched NHL game on record (Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final);
-the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record (2013 Blackhawks-Bruins)
-the most-watched hockey game in the last 40 years (2010 Vancouver Olympics Men’s Gold Medal Final – the USA vs. Canada)
-the most-watched NHL regular-season game on record (2011 NHL Winter Classic)

On December 12, 2011, Emrick was one of five individuals, and the first-ever broadcaster, inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Emrick has also won a record eight Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play,” including an unprecedented seven consecutive Emmys in the category from 2014-2020 and seven New York region Emmy Awards for “on-camera achievement.

Who will be the next king of hockey in New York?

Yesterday marked the end of an era.

Henrik Lundqvist, the goalie for the New York Rangers for the last 15 years and a surefire Hall of Famer, was bought out by the organization with one year left on his seven-year, $59-million contract he signed in 2014.

The decision to buyout the 38-year-old was almost written on the wall ever since the arrival of Igor Shesterkin — the organization’s highly-touted Russian goalie — towards the middle of the season, and the rise of 24-year-old Alexander Georgiev the past two seasons. Still, it was a painful day not just for Rangers fans, but for all hockey fans in the metropolitan area who watched Lundqvist’s reign to becoming one of the greatest goalies ever.

Lundqvist truly was a King. And New York was his kingdom, especially from the hockey portion of the sports landscape in the area. He was the best player — other than the short stint of Jaromir Jagr — at his position of any of the three Metro teams from the moment he made his debut.

But that time has come to an end. A new king shall arise.

The question now is, who will be the next to take the throne? There’s plenty of worthy candidates who all have a case.

Igor Shesterkin

The youngster who was being groomed to be the heir-apparent to Lundqvist. He’s now the Blueshirts’ starting goaltender and will be for the foreseeable future. Shesterkin showed the fans and his teammates all the hype was real about him — and that he could very well be a dominant force moving forward — when he went 10–2-0 in his 12 starts before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the hockey season.

The future looks bright for Shesterkin and the Rangers. And he has all the capabilities of being the ruler of the sport in this town if all things play out.

Ilya Sorokin

Shesterkin isn’t the only new name on the scene that might help lead to New York’s next great era of hockey. His Russian counterpart, Ilya Sorokin, is now officially with the Islanders, and he is positioned to be the franchise goaltender on Long Island for hopefully the next decade.

The 25-year-old Sorokin was a king in his own right back in his native homeland and oozes winning and star power. He could very much take this market by storm with those traits and if he’s backstopping the Isles back to the glory days they once had back in the early 80s.

Artemi Panarin

Panarin has only called New York home for one year, but it’s already proven that he’s become one of the best athletes in any of the four major sports. We know he was already a household name before he arrived last summer, now though, the 28-year-old has a strong chance of being the next one to take the thrown around here. The guy is a superstar — he was a Hart Trophy candidate this past season — and he’s got that infectious personality which makes him a joy to watch play (the Rockette goal celebration is also very Broadway).

Panarin is going to be here for a while, another six years to be exact. In that time, the Rangers have the makings of being a powerhouse and he as the face of it all.

Mathew Barzal

As the Islanders continue to build toward a perennial winner, it’s Barzal who has become the face of the franchise and who the entire league recognizes when the franchise is mentioned.

Only 23, Barzal has already accomplished some great things in his career, including a Calder Trophy back in 2017-18. And he’s not even close to being the star everyone knows he’s capable of being. Beyond that, Barzal — most likely being an Islander for the next decade and more — has the off the ice qualifications too.

He’s got his own style. His flow has made him an internet sensation. And he’s got the look of someone who you’d put on a billboard.

All of that resonates around these parts.

Jack Hughes

Look everyone can discredit New Jersey as not being a part of the NY hockey landscape, but they still are very much a part of the fabric and its history. That’s why Jack Hughes gets a nod on this list.

The number one pick overall in 2019, Hughes is just at the beginning of his career. He was a superstar during his time at the U.S. National Development Program, and the hope is it will be the same for his time over the next number of years with the Devils. The franchise is leaning on him to bring back those years of consistent winning and championships.

Hughes is just 19, so he’s still raw. But he could very much own this town if he can help turn the Devs around and live up to his top pick status.

Kaapo Kakko

The kid picked right after Hughes at last summer’s draft, Kaapo Kakko is also just starting what hopes to be an excellent career on Broadway. Kakko definitely showed his warts as a freshman this past year, but the greatness which made him a top-2 pick flashed on a number of occasions. Being from Finland, he’s another European export who is expected to be one of the major pieces to the puzzle for the Rangers.

Kakko said when he first landed in New York, “it’s a nice city”. Well, the city has the chance to be his very much down the road.

Nico Hischier

Hischier, who also plays on the Jersey side of the Hudson, has quietly become one of the best players in the area. Another former top overall pick, he’s trying to bring the Devils back to respectability; and he has in some ways. He also is only getting better.

Just 21, he might be the best player in the area down the line.

Mika Zibanejad

The Blueshirts are loaded for the future as said above. Zibanejad is on that list. He’s become one of the synonymous names on Broadway and had the best season of his career in 2019-20.

Zibanejad is also the kind of star who can shine big in the city.

The guy is a DJ in his own right and has released his own music. That’s a total win-win if you’re looking for the next guy to be the face of the sport in the city. Add in winning, and Zibanejad is a sneaky contender for the crown.

Alexis LaFreniere

The soon-to-be number one pick, next Tuesday to be exact. LaFreniere has been compared to some of the greats playing in the game right now, and he will have the Worlds Most Famous Arena — Madison Square Garden — as his playground. The 18-year-old phenom has already expressed his love for the city and the chance to play with another star at the top of this list, Panarin.

He’s going to get his chance. Aside from that, he’s got all the hype of being Broadway’s next big hit, pardon the pun.

That itself could make him the next in line to wear the crown.

Who do you think will be the next king of hockey in New York?

New York Islanders: What would an Andrew Ladd trade look like?

Andrew Ladd, New York Islanders

New York Islanders‘ forward, Andrew Ladd might have the worst value contract in the entire NHL. In 2016, this contract seemed like an excellent move for the Isles. They had just lost longtime forwards like Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin. John Tavares needed a complimentary player, and Ladd seemed like the right guy. Well, only 181 games in 4 years later, Ladd’s long and expensive contract became a significant problem. Andrew Ladd currently has as much trade value as I do, so let’s see what an Andrew Ladd trade could look like.

New Jersey Devils

The Islanders took the 38-year-old, $5 million dollar contract Captain from the Devils earlier this year. Now, the Devils take a large contract back. But, the Islanders have to give up another high pick just for some cap relief.

Yes, say goodbye to next year’s first Islanders fans. Isles fans are still being drug through the mud because of Garth Snow’s terrible money management. So, the full trade is Andrew Ladd, a first-round pick next year, and a third-round pick this year for John Hayden. Who John Hayden, you may ask? I don’t know exactly, he’s just depth really.

Ottawa Senators

Ah, the Islanders very good friend, the Ottawa Senators. After gifting the Isles J.G. Pageau, the Islanders are ready to give a gift back. And by a gift, I mean a 35-year-old who’s played 30 games in 2 years and has a $5.5 million dollar cap hit. Not only must the Islanders relinquish Andrew Ladd, but Josh Ho-Sang is gone too. Lou Lamoriello has to trade away his favorite player Josh Ho-Sang.

The full trade is Andrew Ladd, Josh Ho-Sang, and a fifth-round pick this year for Angus Crookshank and a sixth-round pick next year. Crookshank is a 3rd/4th liner, nothing the Sens are sad about giving away.

Report: New York Rangers Assistant Coach Heading to New Jersey

New York Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff is going to be named the new top man of the New Jersey Devils, in news first reported Wednesday night by former NHL goalie and current NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes.

Ruff has spent the last three years as the defensive assistant for the Rangers under Alain Vigneault and David Quinn, as the Blueshirts are preparing to meet Carolina in a play-in series next month. Ruff was fired by the Dallas Stars in 2017 after four seasons that saw him win just one playoff series.

The 60-year-old is best known for his 17-year run in Buffalo that stretched from 1997-2013 and included four trips to the Eastern Conference Final and a run to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final that was famously dubbed the “No Goal” series after Ruff’s Niagara Square proclamation over Brett Hull’s series-ending goal in triple overtime.

Ruff is sixth all-time in NHL history in victories with 736, with former New York Islanders legend Al Arbour next on the list at 782. Ruff is thus 64 wins shy of becoming the fifth coach in history to 800 wins and is seven games shy of becoming the seventh in history to coach 1,500 games.

The veteran head coach was a surprise candidate in New Jersey, which finished the season with interim coach Alain Nasreddine after the December firing of John Hynes. The Devils reportedly had been considering former Nashville boss Peter Laviolette and ex-Vegas coach Gerard Gallant before settling on Ruff, who has been a lightning rod for Rangers’ fans in the past few years.

Ruff has NHL experience as a player and was chosen in the second round, 32nd overall, of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, by the Buffalo Sabres. He played for both the Sabres and Rangers. Ruff gained a reputation as a player for his toughness, character, and hard work on the ice. An illustration of this came in a May 10, 1980, playoff game against the New York Islanders, when opposing goaltender and frequent instigator Billy Smith struck Ruff with his stick as he passed in front of his net. Ruff got up, skated back to the goaltender and tackled him, cementing his legacy as a no-nonsense player.

Weekes’ report also stated that the Devils are going to remove the interim tag from General Manager Tom Fitzgerald and give him the job on a permanent basis. Fitzgerald, the father of Sabres prospect Casey Fitzgerald, was a player and Ruff was an assistant coach on the 1995-96 Florida Panthers who advanced to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Colorado.