New York Rangers recall defenseman Braden Schneider from Hartford

rangers

The New York Rangers announced today that they have recalled defenseman Braden Schneider from the Hartford Wolfpack. He has been appointed to the main roster immediately, bypassing the taxi squad. Also, in the announcement is that the Rangers have reassigned defensemen Nils Lundkvist and Tarmo Reunanen as well as goaltender Tyler Wall to Hartford.

Schneider was drafted 19th overall in the 2020 NHL entry draft. The Rangers were so high on him that they traded a 1st and 3rd in that draft to Calgary so they could grab him.

While he only has 9 assists in 24 games for Hartford, Schneider isn’t paid to score. The 6’2″, 210lb 20 year old from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, was drafted as a hard-nosed stay-at-home defenseman. But in the AHL, he has shown flashes of quick outlet passes and agile skating.

 

As long as Covid doesn’t change things, Braden Schneider should be able to get into Thursday’s game against the Sharks at the SAP Center in San Jose. Because the Rangers’ top 4 defensemen is set with Lindgren-Fox and Miller-Trouba, look for him to slot into the 3rd pairing with Patrick Nemeth. This would end up being the 5th Defenseman that Nemeth has been paired with this year. Previously he has been with Tinordi, Jones, Lundkvist, and Hajek. None of them have been very impressive.

With Lundkvist, Reunanen, and Wall being sent down, it’s still to be seen what the goal in all of these moves is. Are the Rangers showcasing their young players as potential trade chips at the deadline? Are they using the multitude of Covid absences to gauge the NHL readiness of many young prospects? Is it all of the above?

Two names added to updated New York Rangers COVID protocols

Ryan Lindgren and Alexandar Georgiev have joined Patrik Nemeth on the Rangers’ COVID-19 list as they wait for the green light to return.

The New York Rangers confirmed that two more names had been added to their COVID-19 list, as goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and defenseman Ryan Lindgren joined Patrik Nemeth.

The placement of Georgiev and Lindgren will temporarily deny the Rangers (19-7-4) the services of two major contributors to their hot start. Lindgren (as well as Nemeth) has appeared in all 30 Ranger games this season and leads the team with a plus/minus of 9. Georgiev filled in serviceably for injured primary netminder Igor Shesterkin, amassing a 5-3-2 record with a 2.87 goals against average to go with a .902 save percentage.

In the midst of the ongoing health crisis, namely the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, the Rangers have not played since a shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 17. Two further games at Madison Square Garden (Dec. 22 against Montreal and Monday’s visit from Detroit) have since been postponed as part of a league-wide pause, with games scheduled to resume on Tuesday. New York’s next scheduled game lands on Wednesday against the Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET, MSG 2).

Though the Rangers have not made any announcements, it’s likely that they will recall Keith Kinkaid from AHL Hartford to take over for Georgiev as Shesterkin nears a return. The former New Jersey Devil is in the midst of his second season with the Rangers and made his season debut on Dec. 15, stopping 29 shots in a 3-2 win over Arizona. In terms of blue-line help, Hartford defensemen with notable NHL experience include Zac Jones, Jarred Tinordi, and Anthony Bitetto.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NHL game suspensions start Rangers’ Christmas break early

With the NHL suspending cross-border travel, the Rangers will have ten days off before their next game on Dec. 27.

The New York Rangers’ Christmas vacation is starting earlier than anticipated.

In the wake of the ongoing health crisis, the NHL has postponed all games involving travel between the United States and Canada through Dec. 27. The Rangers’ Wednesday tilt against the Montreal Canadiens was among the dozen games affected by the suspension.

As a result, the Rangers (19-7-4) are next scheduled to play on Dec. 27 against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET, MSG). New York ends its pre-Christmas slate in third place in the Metropolitan Division, a point behind both the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals.

Rising COVID-19 cases across the league have caused some teams to pause their proceedings until after the scheduled end of the holiday break on Dec. 27. With the added dozen brought upon by the border deal, 39 games on the regular season docket will now require rescheduling. The Rangers’ Nov. 28 game against the New York Islanders, brought upon by excess cases with the opponent, has already been moved to March 17.

The NHL and its players’ association released a joint statement on Sunday that vowed to play as many games as possible prior to the Christmas break. Both sides appear dedicated to avoiding a league-wide pause, though players’ participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing is in major doubt.

“Though there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness,” a joint statement between from the NHL and NHLPA reads. “Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily.”

As for the Olympics, which were set to feature NHL players for the first time since the 2014 Games in Sochi, the statement declares that the league and the NHLPA are “actively discussing” the matter of participation. The league’s February schedule features a three-week break to allow for players’ participation in the Beijing Games, but that period of inactive could now be used for rescheduled games.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers: Adam Huska to make first career start vs. Colorado

Like Igor Shesterkin before him, Adam Huska will make his first start for the Rangers against the Colorado Avalanche.

It’s deja blue all over again.

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant announced that goaltender Adam Huska will make his first career NHL start on Wednesday night when his Blueshirts battle the Colorado Avalanche (7 p.m. ET, MSG 2/NHL Network). Huska will face Colorado nearly two full calendar years to the day that regular Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin made first appeared, with his first start also coming against visitors from Denver at Madison Square Garden in January 2020.

In video released by SNY, Gallant mentioned that the Rangers’ condensed schedule put Huska in net. The Rangers (17-4-3) will play seven games over the next 14 days, starting with Wednesday’s visit from the Avalanche. It’s the latter half of a back-to-back after a 6-2 victory in Chicago on Tuesday.

Huska was called up from AHL Hartford earlier this week as the Rangers continue to work through Shesterkin’s non-contact lower-body injury sustained last Friday against San Jose. Alexandar Georgiev has taken over as the Rangers’ starter with Shesterkin out, earning wins in each of the past two contests.

“The kid’s getting his first chance,” Gallant said. “We’re looking forward to it. He’s excited, we’re excited.”

Huska, 24, joined the Rangers as a seventh-round pick (184th overall) in the 2015 draft. The Slovakia native has shared Hartford’s goaltending duties with NHL veteran Keith Kinkaid and has earned a 2.20 goals against average to go with a .924 save percentage and 2-3-1 record. He also appeared in two preseason games earlier this fall, stopping 18 of 22 shots.

The AHL hasn’t been Huska’s first exposure to Hartford hockey as he previously served as the University of Connecticut’s goaltender for three seasons.

Huska’s official NHL debut will be a trial by fire: though they’ve struggled to string wins together after a torrid November, Colorado (13-7-2) boasts one of the most explosive offenses in the NHL. The Avalanche have scored 92 goals this season, tied with Washington for the NHL’s second-best tally entering Wednesday night. Cale Makar leads the team with 11 goals, which also top all NHL defensemen, while Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen have 10 each.

Entering the final stanza of a five-game eastern swing, Colorado is coming off a 7-5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night. The Avalanche put up 50 shots on net and saw all but four skaters earn at least one point.

Huska will wear No. 32, last worn by fellow backup goaltender Antti Raanta (2016-17).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Postponed Rangers-Islanders game moved to St. Patrick’s Day

The NHL has made March 17 a holiday in more ways than one, as the Islanders and Rangers will do battle at MSG.

New York hockey fans will be more than happy to add a little blue to their St. Patrick’s Day proceedings.

The National Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Nov. 28’s postponed game between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers will now be staged on Mar. 17 at Madison Square Garden. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET with coverage likely carried on the networks of MSG.

That postponed weekend matchup was one of two Islander games delayed by a COVID-19 induced pause, the other being a Nov. 30 visit to Philadelphia. The latter contest against the Flyers has yet to be rescheduled.

Despite its move, the Mar. 17 contest still be the second iteration of this season’s in-state hockey rivalry and the first at MSG. Two further matchups are scheduled for April. The Rangers took away the first meeting on Nov. 24 by a 4-1 final at the first get-together at the Islanders’ new Belmont-based home of UBS Arena. En route to their second consecutive NHL semifinal appearance, the Islanders won six of the eight meetings placed on last year’s division rival-heavy schedule, which included a 3-1-0 mark in Manhattan.

News of the shift came shortly before each team earned big wins in Tuesday night action. The Rangers (17-4-3)  stretched their winning streak to seven with a 6-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks while the Islanders (6-10-5) stopped an 11-game winless skid in Ottawa, topping the Senators 5-3. A return to UBS Arena awaits the Islanders on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG+) while the Blueshirts immediately return to action on Wednesday at home against Colorado (7 p.m. ET, MSG 2/NHL Network).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers: F Sammy Blais out for 6-8 months

Blais was injured in the New York Rangers’ Sunday win over New Jersey and will miss the rest of the season.

The New York Rangers announced that Sammy Blais will be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury that will take 6-8 months to recover from.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post added that Blais tore his ACL during Sunday’s 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils and will miss the remainder of the season. Blais was forced to leave the game after his skates were clipped by Devils defenseman P.K. Subban. He needed assistance to leave the ice and put no weight on his right leg upon his departure.

Blais was in the midst of his first season with the Rangers after four years with the St. Louis Blues. He is perhaps best known as the Rangers’ yield in the trade that sent Pavel Buchnevich out to the midwest, which also netted the Rangers a second-round pick. This season ends with four points, all assists, in 14 games for Blais, who also tallied 17 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +3 (the latter mark tied for the team-high).

In Blais’ departure, the Rangers recalled Greg McKegg from AHL Hartford. McKegg has appeared in eight games for New York this season, winning 47 percent of his faceoffs (24-of-51).

With Blais out, the Rangers (9-3-3) return to action on Tuesday night at home against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, MSG).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Rangers game in Ottawa on Saturday has been postponed (Report)

The COVID-19 outbreak that has attacked the Ottawa Senators will result in the New York Rangers game on Saturday afternoon be postponed.

The New York Rangers will not have to play back-to back games this weekend since it is being reported that their game in Ottawa will be postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak that has hit the Senators team.

Currently there are 10 players and associate coach Jack Capuano in COVID-19 protocol.  The NHL is expected to announce the they will also postponed games against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in Newark and  their game against Nashville on Thursday.

Cancelled Practice added to Postponements

The Senators were forced to cancel their fourth consecutive practice after the team had more positive results  Monday.

Former New York Rangers and current Senator Michael Del Zotto spoke of the uncertainty and worry that has been a factor every day since the outbreak hit the club last week.

“Some guys have symptoms and some don’t so I’m not going to get into details,” Del Zotto said Sunday night. “But when you’re coming to the rink you’re almost crossing your fingers every single day hoping you get through with a negative. It’s been unfortunate and a good learning experience for everyone.”

“We”re just trying to keep every one safe, not just the players, but also our families. It’s also a great opportunity for guys to learn the mental side of the game and to be prepared for what’s out of your control. We’re trying to learn from the on-ice stuff but the off-ice stuff as well.”  – Bruce Garrioch, Ottawasun.com.

The Senator.s have now had seven straight days where they’ve had positive test results for COVID-19. Winger Drake Batherson was the latest player added to COVID-19 protocol  joining Austin Watson, Nick Golden, Josh Brown, Connor Brown, Dylan Gambrell, Matt Murray, Nikita Zaitsev, Victor Mete and Alex Formenton along with associate coach Jack Capuano .

At the moment there has been no make up date for the Rangers postponed game Saturday.  The Senators hope to be able to go on a four game road trip that begins in Colorado on Monday night.

New York Rangers: Former top scorer Marian Gaborik retires

marian gaborik

Gaborik played parts of four seasons with the Rangers and was one of the most prolific scorers of the team’s new century endeavors.

Former New York Rangers scorer Marian Gaborik announced his retirement on Thursday, ending a 17-year NHL career. Gaborik spent parts of four seasons on Broadway, earning 229 points (114 goals, 115 assists) over 255 games. He also added 13 points in two playoff appearances (25 games).

Gaborik, 39, made his announcement through a post on Instagram, where former teammates like Mats Zuccarello stopped by to offer support and well wishes.

“It’s been a great honour [sic] and privilege to play in the best league in the world (the NHL), since I was 18 years old. The journey has been nothing short from spectacular, amazing, and unbelievable. Many times it’s been a roller coaster, but I always found the way back,” Gaborik wrote in the accompanying caption. He offered a special shoutout to each of the five teams that hosted his NHL endeavors, thanking the Rangers for “having experience(d) Sweet Caroline and living in energy heaven of the world”, referencing the retired tradition of playing the Neil Diamond song during the late stages of wins at Madison Square Garden.

Gaborik entered the league as the original draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, chosen third in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to score the first goal in franchise history and became an integral part of their run to the 2004 Western Conference Finals in only their third year of existence. Though he departed Minnesota after the 2008-09 season, he remains the Wild’s all-time leader in goals (219) and hat tricks (9). Those tallies include a five-goal game against the Rangers in December 2007.

Gaborik inked a five-year, $37.5 million deal with the Rangers in July 2009. He tied his career-best with 42 goals in his first season. Though the Rangers missed the playoffs, Gaborik played a vital role in helping establish what would become a seven-year postseason streak. He notable played all 82 games during the 2011-12 season that saw the Blueshirts finish atop the Eastern Conference. Gaborik led the team with 76 points, including 41 goals.

His most famous New York moment came in Game 3 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when his goal in triple overtime allowed the Rangers to earn a crucial win in Washington. Earlier that season, Gaborik earned MVP honors at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa (one of three All-Star appearances), earning a hat trick for a “fantasy” team captained by Zdeno Chara.

Gaborik’s Rangers career ended in April 2013, when he was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade that sent Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore to New York. He was traded again during the following year’s deadline, joining the Los Angeles Kings in time for their run to the Stanley Cup. The trade would pay off big for the Kings, as Gaborik led all playoff scorers with 14 goals in the ensuing postseason. Two of those came in the Cup Final against the Rangers, as a power play tally in the third period of Game 5 allowed Los Angeles to send the game into overtime, where they’d eventually clinch their second Cup in three years.

After the Cup win, Gaborik played parts of the next four seasons in Los Angeles before he was traded to the Ottawa Senators in February 2018. Ottawa wound up hosting his final NHL contests: Gaborik played 16 games as a Senator but injuries kept him off the ice for the rest of his career. His rights were eventually traded to Tampa Bay in December 2020 in what was seen as a salary cap-clearing move by the Lightning.

In addition to his NHL endeavors, Gaborik also starred for Slovakia’s national team partaking in their Winter Olympic efforts in 2006 and 2010. Gaborik’s last international effort came during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where he scored two goals for Team Europe, the tournament’s eventual runner-ups.

The modern Rangers (6-2-2) return to action on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers (9:30 p.m. ET, MSG+).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers: The week ahead (November 1-7)

The New York Rangers’ trip through the Pacific Northwest got off to a good start through a Halloween triumph over Seattle.

Last Week: 2-1-0
Season: 6-2-1 (3rd in Metropolitan)

Star of the Week: Adam Fox

Is it possible that Adam Fox is the best quarterback in New York? Mike White’s breakout performance at MetLife Stadium could cause some debate, but the defending hoister of the Norris Trophy has set up prime opportunities for his teammates. Fox had assists on each of the Rangers’ final three goals on Friday against Columbus, earning the primary helps on two of them. Fox also earned his second goal of the season on Sunday in Seattle, the sixth game-winner of his career.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday: @ Vancouver (10 p.m. ET, MSG)

In the midst of a seven-game homestand, the Canucks (3-5-1) are coming off three straight one-goal losses in regulation, the most recent being a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Meeting up with Vancouver sets up a reunion with former first-round representative J.T. Miller, who’s tied for third in the NHL with eight assists.

Friday: @ Edmonton (9:30 p.m. ET, MSG+)

The Oilers (6-1-0) have gotten off to a scorching hot start through familiar methods: scoring efforts from Connor McDavis and Leon Draisaitl, who have united for 29 points in the early going. They’ve been fed well by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who leads the NHL with 10 assists in the early going. The Rangers’ last visit to Edmonton was a wild get-together on New Year’s Eve 2019, as they nearly fought back from a 6-0 deficit through five consecutive goals before falling 7-5.

Saturday: @ Calgary (10 p.m. ET, MSG)

The Rangers have an instant opportunity to avenge last Monday’s listless 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Flames (6-1-1). They weren’t the only ones stymied by Calgary, who finished a dominant east coast swing with five straight wins before shutting out Philadelphia in Alberta on Saturday night. The Blueshirts’ visit is the penultimate game of a five-game homestand at Scotiabank Saddledome, as Nashville and Dallas will respectively stop by on Tuesday and Thursday. This will be the Rangers’ first back-to-back since they followed up an opening night loss in Washington with an overtime defeat at home against Dallas on Oct. 13-14.

They Said It

“It’s repetitive when we talk about it. We can sing his praises for days, but he keeps us in every game and you never feel like you’re out. It’s a tie game and he keeps it that way, and obviously, we get one. I can’t say enough good things about him…We don’t want to rely on him that heavy most games, but when we need him, he comes through. No one wants to have their goaltender bail them out most games.”-Adam Fox on Igor Shesterkin (via Joe Pantorno)

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin steals the show on Halloween

Shesterkin kept his winning ways going off the ice, as the New York Rangers goalie pulled off a “royale” couples costume.

Igor Shesterkin has confirmed himself to be an Elvis man.

With the New York Rangers spending Halloween in Seattle for their first-ever matchup with the Kraken, the team celebrated the Halloween holiday this week through a costume party. The goaltender stole the show at the Blueshirts’ festivities dressed as Vincent Vega, John Travolta’s character from the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Shesterkin’s girlfriend Anna Butusova got in on the fun as well, complementing Shesterkin by accompanying him as Mia Wallace, portrayed by Uma Thurman in the same film.

Butusova’s Instagram story depicts her and Shesterkin recreating an iconic scene from the Quentin Tarantino film where Travolta and Thurman partake in a dance contest, twisting to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”. Shesterkin himself shared a photo on his own page.

Shesterkin’s night at Jack Rabbit Slim’s was well-received on social media

Though Shesterkin chose to channel Travolta, his play has resembled the fixer Winston Wolf, Harvey Keitel’s character that helps Vincent and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) out of a major crisis in the latter stages of the film. He has amassed a 3-1-1 record in the early going, boasting a .917 save percentage and 2.17 goals-against average. Since making his NHL debut in January 2020, Shesterkin has earned seven wins where he has tallied at least 40 saves, including a 2-1 overtime triumph in Toronto on Oct. 18,

The Rangers (4-2-1) return to action on Friday night at Madison Square Garden where they’ll battle the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET, MSG). It’ll be their last game before they embark on a four-game road trip through the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, beginning with the aforementioned Halloween showdown in Seattle.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags