What the New York Rangers should expect from Mika Zibanejad in 2021

This season, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad put up career-high numbers in goals and points. In a season that was cut short for the star player by both a pandemic and a major injury, the star player managed to score forty-one goals and tally seventy-five points in just fifty-seven games.

Zibanejad led the league in average goals per game and was the first Rangers player to hit the forty goal mark since Rick Nash in the 2015-2016 season. It’s pretty clear that Zibanejad has what it takes to be the leading center on the rising New York Rangers, but what else should fans expect from him?

Mika Zibanejad, since being traded to the Rangers in the summer of 2016, has proven to exemplify fantastic leadership abilities. Since the 2018-2019 season, Zibanejad has worn an “A” on his jersey, signifying that he is one of four alternate captains for the team.

Since the Rangers don’t have a captain right now, Zibanejad, Marc Staal, Chris Kreider, and Jesper Fast carry the responsibility of team leadership on their backs. Earlier this season, the Rangers were expected to announce their new captain right before their season opener, but eventually opted to keep their four alternates for one more year. It is likely that the new captain will be named sometime before next season starts, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mika Zibanejad wearing the C. As a young reliable player who seems to have reached his prime, he would be the perfect choice to lead this team of young stars to future victories. While it isn’t set in stone that he’ll be the choice for captaincy, don’t be surprised if we end up seeing it happen. 

For the past couple of seasons, Rangers fans constantly questioned if Zibanejad would be good enough to be a quality number one center for the team. But after this year, it’s clear that he has what it takes. The only question is now, will he be able to recreate this year’s success in future seasons. It isn’t uncommon for players to regress after having stellar seasons. One great example of this from recent seasons is Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner.

In 2019, Skinner put up a career-high forty goals during his first season with the team. After that fantastic season, he signed a new contract for $72 million over eight years. The Sabres had high hopes for him, but this season he only managed to score fourteen goals. Buffalo knows what it’s like to have a star player one season turn into a mediocre player the next, and that is what fans of the New York Rangers are scared of now. 

While it is probable that Zibanejad may have hit his peak this season, we shouldn’t expect him to dip very much next year, if at all. Zibanejad is only twenty-seven years old, having just entered his prime years of hockey. He also plays for the Rangers, a team that is still young and acquiring key pieces for their future. It is likely that he will be playing alongside Chris Kreider and Alexis Lafreniere this season, so fans should expect similar numbers from Zibanejad. 

This is all speculation, of course, as the only way to truly know how Mika Zibanejad will perform is to watch him play next season. New York Rangers fans should definitely expect big things from their top center, though. Whether it be captaincy, more career-high statistics, or the opportunity to play with this year’s number one draft pick, it’ll be interesting to see what top center Mika Zibanejad has to offer. The future is bright for the New York Rangers, and Zibanejad is a big part of that.

 

Who the New York Rangers could target with the 1st overall pick

Alexis Lafrenière

With a stunning turn of events that seemed near impossible to New York Rangers fans, their team has ended up receiving the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft. When the league was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 9th, the Rangers had a 0.8% chance of receiving the first pick in the draft.

However, after lucking out through the NHL’s unique return to play plan, the Rangers were able to get some of their young stars a bit of playoff experience and increase their chances of winning the draft lottery to 12.5%, which worked out perfectly for them. But now that a week has gone by since the lottery, it is time to stop celebrating and figure out what the Rangers should do. 

Their first option is definitely the most obvious, and probably the one that would make the most sense. For a while now, NHL scouts have all been in agreement that the top-rated prospect in this year’s draft pool is the Canadian winger Alexis Lafreniere.

Despite only being eighteen years old, Lafreniere stands at 6’1” and provides a strong physical presence on the ice. His offensive awareness is comparable to players such as Sidney Crosby, who has been dominating the league for over a decade now. Last season in the QMJHL, Lafreniere led the league by putting up a whopping 112 points through only 52 games. It’s safe to say that he is definitely the most skilled player in this year’s draft, and he would be a perfect fit on the New York Rangers. There is only one reason that I could see the Rangers drafting anyone but him- his position.

It would be a very bold move, but there could be a very small chance that the Rangers decide to use their first overall pick to draft a center, Quinton Byfield. When it comes to the wingers on the Rangers, they already have a solid top 4.

With superstar Artemi Panarin leading the bunch, and other great players such as Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, and last year’s second overall pick Kaapo Kakko, the only spot to really put Alexis Lafreniere in his rookie season would be the third line. It obviously wouldn’t hurt to continue strengthening your winger core, but there are other positions on the Rangers that require more depth. More specifically, the centers. 

Mika Zibanejad has served as a great first-line center for the Rangers since being traded from Ottawa in July of 2016. But outside of him, the team lacks a center that is qualified to play on at least the second line. Ryan Strome filled that gap last year, and while he put up career-high numbers, he still should be a third-line center at best. Filip Chytil has potential to be great, but he is still too young and too underdeveloped to tell what kind of player he will grow into.

The point is, the Rangers need a solid second-line center on their team. That’s where the number two rated prospect in this year’s draft pool comes in. Quinton Byfield. Comparable to players such as LA Kings star Anze Kopitar, Byfield is a large impactful player that plays a 200-foot game. His competitiveness is unmatched, and he is determined to win every game he plays. He has the potential to grow right into that number two center spot on the Rangers, and possibly even take over the role as their top center in a few years. It would definitely help the Rangers a lot to add center depth to their team, but the question is this: Would it be worth giving up drafting Alexis Lafreniere?

The way I see it, the Rangers will not draft anyone that is not Lafrienere or Byfield. After those two players in the draft pool, there is a decent jump in level of potential. The only exception to that may be Tim Stutzle, another center, but if the Rangers were to go that route Byfield is the obvious choice. Many people will say that choosing Byfield over Lafrienere would be a waste of a first overall pick, but there may be a way that the Rangers could acquire a fantastic center and make it worth it. 

The runner ups of this year’s draft lottery were the Los Angeles Kings, acquiring the number two overall pick. Although it would be very risky, one alternative route that the Rangers could go would be to swap picks with the Kings and have LA add in another great prospect. It sounds crazy, but it could work.

The Kings have one of the deepest prospect pools in the entire NHL, so there is a chance that they would be willing to give up a winger to draft an even better one at first overall. If the Kings were to swap picks with the Rangers to move up to first overall, one prospect they could throw in would be Arthur Kaliyev. He is a right-winger that was drafted 33rd overall in 2019 and has shown a lot of potential. If the Kings were against this trade, the Rangers could even throw in their other late first-round pick to even the trade a little bit more. It’s not likely to happen, but if it did, the Rangers could walk away from this year’s draft with elite center Quinton Byfield and top prospect Arthur Kaliyev. 

With all of that speculation out of the way, still, the best route the Rangers could take would be to keep their first overall pick and draft Alexis Lafreniere. There are many options for the team to choose on, but choosing the star winger at number one makes the most sense.

The Rangers are going to need center depth at some point if they intend on becoming an elite team within the next few years, but this year might not be the time to do it. As of right now, the draft is scheduled to start on October 9th, but that is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The only thing Rangers fans can do is wait and hope to see their team make a smart decision. Having the ability to shape your team’s future with a number one overall pick doesn’t happen often, so let’s hope that the New York Rangers make the most of it.  

 

 

 

New York Islanders: 3 Players who Surprised against the Rangers

Derick Brassard, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers 2-1 last night in an exhibition match. The two teams have been off for four months, and some players like Adam Pelech have missed even more time. Obviously, with such a long layoff, there was some expected sloppiness in both team’s play. Despite this, the Islanders played Islanders’ hockey and controlled mostly the entire game. There were three players in particular who looked like they missed zero time at all, and surprised every Islander fan.

Three New York Islanders’ players who stood out:

Derick Brassard

Derick Brassard was a solid winger on the 2nd line at the beginning of the year and fell off near the end of it. Brassard looked like a changed man out there. His energy was at an all-time high; he was making good passes at the right time, and created chances for other players. Brassard can bring veteran leadership to the playoffs, not like the Islanders need that though; they’re the oldest team in the playoffs. I’m excited to see what Brassard can do on Saturday.

Noah Dobson

Noah Dobson had the best performance of his life last night, too bad the game was somewhat meaningless. Dobson was brilliant on his own end last night. I compared his play this season to a defenseman that cared more about playing offense than defense. Dobson proved me wrong last night, he disrupted the Rangers’ energy completely and was solid on the boards. Barry Trotz will have a hard decision of whether to play Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk or Noah Dobson and Adam Greene on Saturday.

Seymon Varlamov

Seymon Varlamov stood on his head last night. I’ve never seen Varlamov play so well in his entire life. He didn’t let up so many rebounds, he was fast from pipe to pipe, and he had that fantastic three-shot kick save. I’m usually very nervous when the other team gets a clean shot on Varly, but that just wasn’t the case last night. Varly stopped everything in his way. Varlamov will obviously get the nod on Saturday.

Conclusion

The New York Islanders looked amazing against the Rangers last night. This was just an exhibition game, so don’t look too far into the result, even though the Islanders won. The Islanders have a big test on Saturday, the Panthers may not be an elite team, but you cannot rule out any team. The real test will be the players dealing with the pressure that the play-ins bring.

The next great possible New York rivalry could be soon, and no it’s not a team one

Sam Darnold versus Daniel Jones. Aaron Judge versus Pete Alonso. Jacob deGrom versus Gerrit Cole.

If you’re sensing a theme here, you know exactly where this is heading.

Hockey has and probably will always be the fourth sport in the metropolitan area. Even with three teams all within a short drive of each other, the rivalries have taken a backseat for too long. But if all goes according to plan, two guys — the Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin and Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin — have the chance to make for one of the most entertaining and interesting rivalries very soon.

The Isles were finally able to sign Sorokin on Monday after a long, six-year wait. As for Shesterkin, he’s gearing up for the postseason as the Blueshirts’ presumed starter after he went 10-2-0 as a rookie in his 12 games played before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the NHL. And while the first Ilya vs Igor showdown might not come until next season, it’s refreshing to know the two are now a part of their respective organizations. Just the fact they’re both here has Islander and Rangers fans salivating at the perspective of these two duking it out for the next decade.

Sorokin and Shesterkin’s relationship goes all the back to when they met as 17-year-olds in their native Russia.

The two phenoms fought for goalie supremacy as a part of KHL powerhouses and rivals themselves, CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg. Both were selected in the 2014 entry draft — Sorokin 78th overall and Shesterkin 40 picks later at 118. In addition, both were members of the same gold-medal winning squad for Russia at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

So as you can tell, these guys are special, not just individually, but as a duo. Off the ice, their friendship has made for some very entertaining bits on social mediaBut it’s on the ice though where the two bring out the best in each other.

Shesterkin joked with KHL reporter Igor Eronko back in April when Sorokin made his intentions to come to the Isles, saying he was looking forward to a rivalry with Ilya to learn who’s the king of New York and they regularly play NHL20 as the Isles and Rangers respectively.

Is there any more evidence needed to tell these guys are going to own this town?

The hype for them is elevated even more because of the Islanders and Rangers — rivals and in the same division, let alone same market — are both trending in a positive direction for the future. Both teams are poised to be contenders for the next several years, and Sorokin and Shesterkin are an internal part of that.

It sucks that Sorokin probably won’t be joining the Islanders in time for when they square off with the Rangers in their exhibition game a week and a half from now. We could have gotten a sneak preview of what might be coming starting next year. But it’ll have to wait for the appropriate time, hopefully in front of 15,000 inside Nassau Coliseum or 18,000 at Madison Square Garden.

The New York sports scene is loaded with young stars. Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin are next in line.

They are ready to hopefully rule New York and begin the area’s next great era of hockey.

NHL concludes season, Rangers are in the playoffs

New York Rangers

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the 2019-’20 regular season has officially concluded, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will consist of 24 teams with the New York Rangers getting a shot to play for the Stanley Cup.

The National Hockey League announced its Return to Play plan on Tuesday afternoon. The regular season has been officially declared completed and the league will jump right into the NHL Playoffs with a 24-team format to include the New York Rangers.

The Rangers were the hottest team in the league when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NHL to pause the regular season on Mar. 12. The Blueshirts were two points away from a wild card spot with doubts if they would get an opportunity to complete the season or qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2017.

The tournament will begin with a 16-team, eight-series Qualifying Round, and a “Seeding Round Robin” among the top four teams in each conference to determine seeds for the first-round.

Bettman’s statement:

Commissioner Bettman was highlighted by the statement that the league is looking to award the Stanley Cup because the fans want to see a conclusion to the season.

“Let me assure you that the reason we are doing this because our fans have told us in overwhelming numbers that they want to complete the season if at all possible. And our players and our teams are clear that they want to play and bring the season to its rightful conclusion,” NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti reported.

The Qualifying Round and the Seeding Round robin will be held at two hub cities which have not been decided as of yet. One for the 12 Eastern Conference teams and one for the Western Conference teams. Locations being considered to include Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver.

The Rangers to play Carolina

The top four teams in the Eastern Conference are the Boston Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points), Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points), Washington Capitals (41-20-8, 90 points) and Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, 89 points).

The Rangers will play the Carolina Hurricanes in a best of five series. The other play-in games will be Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Islanders vs. the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Following the conclusion of the Qualifying Rounds, the conference based playoffs will continue in the same hub cities. It remains unclear if the first-round series will set through seeding or bracketing.

Games in the qualifying round will be played with playoff overtime rules. The round-robin games will be played with regular-season overtime and shootout rules with ties in the standings broken by regular-season points percentage.

What’s next?

Phase 2 is expected to begin in early June. The will allow clubs to return to home facilities for voluntary, small-group, on and off the ice training.

Phase 3- It would be a formal training camp that is not expected to occur before July 1. This is good news for the Blueshirts as some of the star players are currently overseas. Henrik Lundqvist, Kaapo Kakko, and Mika Zibanejad are a few players who returned home when the NHL pause was put in place.

These players would most likely have to be placed in a 14-quarantine when they arrive back in New York. The phase three-date allows these players along with all players in the league not currently in the United States time to come back home.

Time is of no issue with the leagues understanding that fans would not be allowed in the stands for the foreseeable future.

Bettman intends to play a full 2020-’21 season and is willing to wait until December or January 2021 before beginning the new season.

David Quinn has plenty to do

David Quinn can check one thing off his bucket list. He has made the playoffs in his second year behind the bench. Now comes the hard part.

Let’s address the elephant in the room right now. Will it be Henrik Lundqvist or Igor Shesterkin to start in goal for the play-in series. Hank is 25-5 against Carolina since 2011. Rookie Shesterkin was named the number one starter in February and won 10 of his first 12 games to start his NHL career.

Chris Kreider has fully recovered from his injury suffered right after the trade deadline. Quinn now has to get him back to where he was prior to the injury where he scored 24 goals. A playoff driven Kreider could cause the Hurricanes plenty of trouble in a five-game series.

Pavel Buchnevich was involved in a car accident along with Igor Shesterkin and though he wasn’t injured physically, he was pretty shaken up and never found his game right up until the pause. The Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Buchnevich line has been one of the best over the last few years, the club needs Buch at his best.

The younglings will now get their moment to shine in a national way. Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Filip Chytil, Brett Howden, Alexandar Georgiev, and Kaako Kappo will get a taste of playoff hockey for the first time. The game changes dramatically in playoff time, cant wait to see what these guys will bring to the table when it matters most.

Artemi Panarin and Zibanejad together on the same team in the playoffs. Not much else can be said about that. The scoring and plain out fun watching these two play will be worth the price of admission (if fans were allowed).

On a down note, whenever the playoffs begin Brendan Lemieux will be watching from the press box. Lemieux had a hearing with the NHL Player Safety Department after a hit Colorado Avalanches’ Joonas Donskoi. The NHL didn’t announce the result of the hearing, but it’s expected he will sit a few games when the league resumes.

Rangers playoff hockey back. Well its almost back, but when the league resumes games, the Blueshirts will be playing hockey and that’s what matters most in Rangerstown.

Report: NHL has Target Date for New York Rangers to Enter Re-opening Phase 2

New York Rangers

According to TSN‘s Pierre LeBrun, The NHL and NHLPA sent out a 29-page Phase 2 protocol memo to the New York Rangers and other teams late on Sunday. The memo details the plan to reopen team facilities and allow small group workouts.

This comes on the heels of a recent announcement by New York State governor Andrew Cuomo that allows New York state sports teams to conduct practices and training in their facilities. ESM covered this in more detail in an article you can find here.

Phase 2 will allow a maximum of six players in a practice facility at one time, and no coaches or personnel will be permitted on the ice with them, according to LeBrun. He also added that players would need to wear face coverings at all times, except when exercising or on the ice, upon entering or leaving the facility and while inside where social distancing cannot be maintained.

The memo outlines how teams can safely return to practice facilities, and the protocols players and staff must follow to do so. LeBrun added that participation during this phase is strictly voluntary, and players outside of their home cities are not yet required to return. The memo also states that based on the current information available, the NHL is now targeting a date in early June for a transition to Phase 2. This will give the New York Rangers time to determine where they want to train and provide players with guidance on how and when to return.

LeBrun also says that when it comes to testing players and staff during Phase 2, the NHL will do so as long as tests are available. he also wrote that the memo also stated:

“As an over-riding principle, testing of asymptomatic players and club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations, and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests.”

There were no mentions of Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (return to play) in the memo, but this is a positive sign for the New York Rangers and their fans that hockey will return at some point in the near future.

 

 

Finally, some legitimate optimism about the COVID-19 breakout

beautiful sunset in new york city

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered some good news in his daily COVID-19 briefing. He said that the models are showing improvement, and he believes that New York State is reaching its apex. Models also show that New Jersey is also beginning to flatten and reach its apex.

This is excellent news, but other states aren’t as fortunate. Louisiana is one of those states, and according to their government, they may run out of ventilators and ICU beds over the next week.

However, all states should be on the verge of an apex relatively soon. Stricter and stricter guidelines are being put in place all around the country. Cuomo said that New Yorkers are following guidelines for the most part, and that’s why the state is likely at its apex.

It’s more important than ever to follow social distancing guidelines. Continuing to follow them as much as possible will lead to a decrease in positive cases and an increase in recovered patients. It also allows our healthcare system to catch up.

What this means for sports:

The good news is that the first states are beginning to reach the apex of coronavirus. But, sports can’t even be a question until all states (and even Mexico and Canada) are showing a downward trend. Once that happens, you can start to think about getting sports going soon.

The thing is, if we jump the gun too quickly, there’s a chance that this thing will come back. A few Asian countries have seen another rise in cases because they jumped the gun too quickly.

The first order of business is to get people back to work, and companies open again. Once we safely do that, we can focus on getting it safe enough for 20,000+ people to pack an arena or a stadium for a game.

We have seen the first legitimate optimism, but for right now, we need to continue to be smart. If we keep staying smart, all states will eventually be on a downward trend, and we can enjoy sports again.

Keep social distancing. Keep washing your hands. We will get through this and be back to normal soon.

Official Program Release: MSG preparing to feature amazing re-runs of classic Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils games

Madison Square Garden

*Offical programming release below via MSG Networks*

MSG Networks Announces Programming Lineup for Week of Monday, March 30th

Lineup to Include Top Games from the Knicks’ ‘12-‘13 Playoff Season, the Rangers and Devils’ Respective

Stanley Cup Finals Runs in ‘14 & ’12 & the Islanders’ Franchise-Record 17-Game Point Streak This Season

New York, NY (March 30, 2020) – MSG Networks (NYSE: MSGN) today announced its programming lineup for the upcoming week for both MSG and MSG+, beginning today, Monday, March 30th.

Each night this week, MSG Networks will be featuring the best games from the Knicks 2012-’13 season, which resulted in an Atlantic Division title and a first-round playoff series win versus Boston, as well top games from the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014. The Knicks and Rangers re-airs will each be 60-minutes versions of the game.

Throughout the week, viewers are also encouraged to tune-in to MSG+ for top games for top games from the Devils run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012, along with notable games from the Islanders’ franchise-record 17-game point streak set earlier this season.

Here’s a look at the complete schedule this week on both MSG and MSG+. The programming throughout the week will also be available on MSG GO, MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform for smartphones, tablets and computers.

MSG SCHEDULE

Monday, March 30th

11a/9p Rangers at Kings – 10/7/13

Brad Richards scores twice as Rangers get first win of season in a Stanley Cup preview

12p/10p Rangers at Islanders – 10/29/13

Ryan McDonagh and Benoit Pouliot each score a third period goal to lead the Rangers

1p/11p Rangers at Montreal – 11/16/13

Rookie goalie Cam Talbot notches his first career shutout as the Rangers beat the Habs

2p/12a Knicks at San Antonio – 11/15/12

Knicks improve to 6-0 with terrific road win vs. the ‘13 Western Conference Champions

3p/1a Knicks vs. Golden State – 2/27/13

Carmelo Anthony and Steph Curry battle it out as the Knicks edge out the Warriors

4p/2a Knicks at Charlotte – 12/5/12

JR Smith hits a buzzer beater as the Knicks prevail on the road vs. the Bobcats

5p Knicks vs. Houston – 3/2/20

RJ Barrett drops 27 points and grabs 5 rebounds to snap Rockets 6-game winning streak

7p Rangers at Islanders – 2/25/20

Mika Zibanejad scores in overtime to help the Rangers defeat the Islanders

Tuesday, March 31st

11a/9p Knicks vs. Nuggets – 12/9/12

Carmelo Anthony Melo drops 34 points against his old team at the Garden

12p/10p Knicks at Nets – 12/11/12

Carmelo Anthony scores 45 points to lead the Knicks in a classic battle vs. the Nets

1p/11p Knicks vs. Cleveland – 12/15/12

Raymond Felton scores 25 points as the Knicks improve to a perfect 10-0 at home

2p/12a Rangers at Florida – 12/31/13

Brad Richards scores the shootout winner to close out ‘13 with a key road victory

3p/1a Rangers at Toronto – 1/4/14

Dominic Moore scores two goals as the Rangers put up seven goals vs Toronto

4p/2a Rangers vs. Islanders – 1/31/14

The Rangers beat the Islanders at Yankee Stadium with Daniel Carcillo’s third period goal

5p Knicks vs. Chicago – 10/28/19

Bobby Portis and RJ Barrett each get double-doubles as Knicks grab first win of season 

7p Rangers vs. Capitals – 3/5/20

Mika Zibanejad scores five goals as the Rangers top the Capitals in overtime thriller

Wednesday, April 1st

11a/9p Rangers at Pittsburgh – 2/7/14

The Rangers record a road shootout win vs. their Eastern Conference rivals

12p/10p Rangers vs. Chicago – 2/27/14

Cam Talbot shines as Rangers return from the ‘14 Olympic break with a big win

1p/11p Rangers at Ottawa – 3/18/14

Henrik Lundqvist passes Mike Richter for the most wins by a goalie in franchise history

2p/12a Knicks vs. Minnesota – 12/23/12

Carmelo Anthony scores 19 of his 33 points in the fourth to lead Knicks to comeback win

3p/1a Knicks at Phoenix – 12/26/12

JR Smith scores a fall away jumper at the buzzer to lift the Knicks past the Suns

4p/2a Knicks vs. San Antonio – 1/3/13

JR Smith scores 20 points off the bench to help Knicks get season sweep of the Spurs

5p Knicks vs. Portland – 1/1/20

Led by Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle, the Knicks kick off the New Year with a win

7p Rangers @ San Jose – 12/12/19

Artemi Panarin scores a hat trick as the Rangers defeat the Sharks

Thursday, April 2nd

11a/9p Knicks vs. Atlanta – 1/27/13

Carmelo Anthony explodes for 42 points, including 9 three-pointers in Knicks win

12p/10p Knicks vs. Golden State – 2/27/13

Carmelo Anthony and Steph Curry battle it out as the Knicks edge out the Warriors

1p/11a Knicks vs. Detroit – 2/4/13

Tyson Chandler ties a franchise record with his third straight, 20-rebound game

2p/12a Rangers at Devils – 3/22/14

Henrik Lundqvist notches his franchise record 50th shutout, passing Eddie Giacomin

3p/1a Rangers vs. Phoenix – 3/24/14

The Rangers rally back as Ryan McDonagh scores the overtime winner vs. Arizona

4p/2a Rangers at Edmonton – 3/30/14

Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello each score 2 goals as Rangers make their playoff push

5p Knicks vs. Orlando – 2/6/20

Julius Randle drops 20 points and grabs 8 rebounds as the Knicks take down the Magic

7p Rangers vs. Devils – 1/9/20

Tony DeAngelo scores a hat trick as the Rangers take down their tri-state rivals

Friday, April 3rd

11a/9p Rangers vs. Flyers – 4/17/14

The Rangers erupt for 3 goals in the third to win the first game of the first-round series

12p/10p Rangers at Flyers – 4/22/14

The Rangers take game three of the first round series behind play of Henrik Lundqvist

1p/11p Rangers vs. Flyers – 4/30/14

Benoit Pouliot’s second period goal is the deciding factor as the Rangers advance

2p/12a Knicks at Charlotte – 12/5/12

JR Smith hits a buzzer beater as the Knicks prevail on the road vs. the Bobcats

3p/1a Knicks vs. Philadelphia – 2/24/13

Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire combine for 51 points in Knicks win

4p/2a Knicks vs. Sacramento – 2/2/13

Amar’e Stoudemire goes a perfect 10-10 from the field as the Knicks defeat the Kings

5p Knicks vs. Miami – 1/12/20

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett combine for 49 points as the Knicks beat the Heat

7p Rangers @ Senators – 10/5/19

Mika Zibanejad gets his third career hat trick as the Rangers defeat the Senators

MSG+ SCHEDULE

Monday, March 30th

5p Devils at Nashville – 10/15/11

Devils win in the shootout after rallying late with two goals in the third

7p Islanders vs. Florida – 10/12/19

Brock Nelson’s shootout heroics lead Islanders to the win that starts the streak

9p Devils at Philadelphia – 11/3/11

Adam Henrique nets his 1st NHL goal as the Devils win in a shootout

11p Islanders vs. Blues – 10/14/19

Devon Toews overtime winner caps off big comeback against defending Champions

Tuesday, March 31st

5p Devils vs. Winnipeg – 11/5/11

Adam Henrique nets the game-winner in overtime

7pm Islanders @ Winnipeg – 10/17/19

Mat Barzal’s pair of second period goals lead Isles to their 3rd straight win

9p Devils at Toronto – 12/6/11

David Clarkson scores the game-winning goal in overtime

11pm Islanders @ Columbus – 10/19/19

Brock Nelson’s overtime winner lifts the Isles to their 4th straight win

Wednesday, April 1st

5p Devils vs. Ottawa – 12/8/11

Devils rally back from 3-0 deficit to defeat Senators in a shootout

7pm Islanders vs. Phoenix – 10/24/19

Anders Lee scores the game winner as the Islanders take their 5th straight

9p Devils vs. Dallas – 12/16/11

Devils rally for 6 goals on Scott Niedermayer night

11pm Islanders @ Ottawa – 10/25/19

Nick Leddy scores twice as the Islanders win their 6th straight

Thursday, April 2nd

5p Devils vs. Florida – 1/6/12

Patrik Elias scores a goal in his 1,000 career NHL game

7pm Islanders vs. Philadelphia – 10/27/19

Barzal leads the Islanders to their 7th straight win

9p Devils at Edmonton – 1/11/12

Zach Parise scores a power play goal in overtime for the win

11pm Islanders vs. Tampa – 11/1/19

Anders Lee’s 3 point night leads the Islanders to their 8th straight win

Friday, April 3rd

5p Devils vs. Rangers – 1/31/12

Devils tie the game with :48 left and then win in a shootout

7pm Islanders @ Buffalo 11/2/19

Varlamov with the shutout as the Islanders win their 9th in a row

9p Devils at Rangers – 2/7/12

Brodeur outduels Lundquist for the shutout win

11pm Islanders vs. Ottawa – 11/5/19

Cole Bardreau with his 1st NHL goal, leads the Isles to their 10th straight win

How About This Destination For Some New York Ranger “Home” Games?

New York Rangers

Practicing social distancing gives one a lot of time to think about things, including the New York Rangers. One of those thoughts was that it is possible that the NHL might be ready to play games, even without fans, before New York State or New York City deem MSG open for business. In an earlier article, I wrote about this possibility and suggested some alternate locations, which include some nearby facilities. As the NHL has stated previously, almost anything is possible in attempting to finish the season. So the suggestion, that I actually sent to the Rangers, is to play any “home” games in Lake Placid N.Y.

Why Lake Placid makes sense as an alternate home for the New York Rangers

Picture this: The New York Rangers come out to a playoff game at the Herb Brooks arena, home to the greatest achievement the hockey world has ever seen. They are wearing special uniforms, with NYR placed on the front of their jerseys in the same manner that the USA was placed across jersey’s forty years ago, when a bunch of college kids beat the best hockey team in the world, and then went on to win the gold medal. What a great way to bounce back from inconveniences of the Covid-19 virus, to play a meaningful game as we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of one of the great moments in USA hockey history.

The arena is named after the legendary coach of the 1980 Olympic Hockey team Herb Brooks, who also coached the Rangers from 1981 to 1985. Brooks was also the first American-born coach in Rangers’ team history to win 100 games.  In addition to the Rangers connection, the arena itself makes sense. If games are to be played without fans, or even with fans but MSG is closed, this arena makes sense. With a capacity of 7,700, it is big enough to allow people to spread out but cozy enough for players to feel that there are not playing in the Grand Canyon.  I was able to watch my son play in a couple of youth tournaments in Lake Placid. It is not as big as it looks on television. But its size and facilities allow it to be a suitable venue for NHL games. They are also no stranger to holding big-time hockey tournaments. The site has previously hosted ECAC hockey tournaments as well as the NCAA Women’s frozen four in 2007.

The NHL said anything and everything is being considered. Lake Placid should be one of those being considered for the New York Rangers.

If NHL Players Take Self-Quarintine Seriously, The New York Rangers Season Could Resume Sooner

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers and other NHL players were given guidelines to follow in the wake of the season shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the message the NHL sent to its teams and players on Friday, which was written in conjunction with the NHL Players’ Association, the league strongly encouraged players to “self-quarantine” in their homes for “the next week or so.” How seriously NHL players, with the reminder that club personnel is in close contact with players frequently, take the recommendation could have a significant say on the timetable to return.

What the New York Rangers and other NHL players need to follow

As part of the self-quarantine, the NHL urged players to “remain in your home as much as possible and practicable and avoid unnecessary interactions with non-family members or roommates.”

Also, team practice facilities are to be off-limits, except for players with “disabling injuries.” Even those players with injuries were encouraged to communicate and continue rehab via alternative means, including FaceTime or webinar, to any extent possible. The NHL also asked players not to organize informal skates at public facilities, because players will be afforded “sufficient time to resume skating and game preparation activities prior to any resumption of play.” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly shared with players that “While self-quarantine will undoubtedly impose lifestyle limitations and may seem like an overly precautions measure, adherence to these principles for a relatively brief period of time … should allow us to be in the best position possible to assess the next steps regarding the potential resumption of play.

Players seem to be on board with the NHL’s response. San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane tweeted the NHL “has done the right thing in taking this pause to help the risk of spreading this virus.”

The effort could pay off sooner than other sports leagues as NHL Players’ Association chief Don Fehr tells The Associated Press that he expects teams will be cleared to open their training facilities to allow player workouts as early as next week. Of course, a positive test could set back any NHL timeline that is tentatively planned.