Hockey Community Shows Support for the New York Ranger’s K’Andre Miller

New York Rangers

On Friday, New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller was subjected to a repeated racial slur from a hacker during a Zoom video chat with New York Ranger’s fans. Immediately many of the people in the hockey community tweeted their dismay over this vile incident and their support for the twenty-year-old defenseman.

Current New York Rangers among the first to offer support and encouragement

Ranger’s defenseman Jacob Trouba was among the first to tweet his support: “What happened today was inexcusable and cowardly. Racism has no place in the hockey community or the world. K’Andre Miller, we are excited to have you as a part of the Rangers and I look forward to having you as a teammate.” Sentiments that were also echoed by Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo. Strome tweeted out that “This team and this organization sticks together. You are one of us and we have your back!”

Many outsides of the Ranger’s organization was also quick to respond. Miller’s former head coach at Wisconsin, Tony Granato tweeted this: “K’Andre Miller has the support of myself and the entire Wisconsin hockey family. He has a bright future in the game of hockey. No one should be subjected to the inexcusable, racist behavior experienced today by K’Andre.” USA Hockey, which Miller has been a part of through his performance representing the United States in two Junior World Tournaments, stated that: “We support K’Andre Miller, an incredible leader, teammate, friend & person. Racial & derogatory slurs have absolutely no place in the game or society.”  Miller even received support from the Los Angeles Kings twitter feed when the posted that: We support K’Andre Miller and are proud to have you as part of the NHL family. There is no place for the racist remarks you had to endure today, and we look forward to hosting you and the Rangers in the future.”

A couple of years ago, William Douglas posted an article on thecolorofhockey.com that detailed Miller’s journey through hockey. Let’s hope that this incident goes a long way in making sure that incidents like these can be purged from this sport and our society.

Red-Hot Mika Zibanejad leads New York Rangers to their Ninth Straight Road Win

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

Maybe it was the Poutine that caused the New York Rangers to be a bit sluggish but they rallied in the third period with four goals to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Mika Zibanejad started the four-goal rally by scoring at the 11-minute mark of the third period.

Ryan Strome scored twice and added an assist while Phillip Di Giuseppe and Adam Fox each added a goal.  Third-period rallies are nothing new for the Rangers now have outscored opponents 81-56 in the third period this season, and their plus-25 goal differential in the third period this season is the best in the NHL.

Their nine-game road winning streak is tied for the eighth-longest in NHL history. They are also the first NHL team that has posted a nine-game road winning streak since the Nashville Predators accomplished this during the 2017-18 season.

Mika Zibanejad leading the way for the New York Rangers

One of the keys to the third-period comeback was to place Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin together on a line. In post-game interviews, players mentioned that head coach David Quinn was less than pleased with their effort, especially with the first two lines, and this led to the pairing.

Zibanejad has now scored in six straight games for the Blueshirts. He is the first Ranger who has posted a six-game goal streak since Jaromir Jagr during the 2005-06 season.

That six-game goal streak is tied for the longest goal streak in the NHL this season, and he is one of four players who have posted a six-game goal streak in 2019-20 joining the likes of Patrick Kane, Sebastian Aho, and Max Domi.

Thursday night’s goal was his thirtieth of the season, making him the first Ranger who has registered 30 or more goals in two consecutive seasons since Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and the first from a center since Mark Messier did this in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

After the game, Zibanejad said of the third-period line switch that the result of that was that they “Played harder, worked harder, played faster, and we saw the result of that today.”  They will need to continue that philosophy as they travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Friday night.

 

New York Rangers Survive Shark Attack: Now Wait on Trade Deadline Activities

New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin

It might be a little understandable if the New York Rangers looked a little flat on Saturday night. After playing for the fourth game in the past six days, and dealing with constant trade talk, the Rangers slipped past the San Jose Sharks by the score of 3-2. Igor Shesterkin stopped 44 saves to win for the seventh straight time. Artemi Panarin set up a pair of goals with passes that were beyond spectacular, and Jesper Fast broke a third-period tie with his second goal of the night. The Rangers won for the third straight time, the seventh time in their last eight games, and moved to 10-3 since the All-Star break. Also, the Blueshirts are now within four points of the final playoff spot.

Shesterkin magnificent in goal for the New York Rangers

The Rangers came out flat Saturday night against the Sharks, having outshot the Blueshirts 22-3 in the first period. It was pretty much the work of Shesterkin in the net that allowed them to survive the onslaught and regroup for the win.  In getting the win, Shesterkin became just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to earn nine wins through his first 10 career games. He is also the first NHL goaltender since saves were first tracked in 1955-56 to have four 40 or more save games, as well as four 40 or more save wins, in his first 10 career appearances. This has to be even a bit over the Ranger’s expectations when they brought him up and have tried to juggle the dreaded three goalie scenario.

What will the New York Rangers do at the trade deadline?

There are a couple of different scenarios that the pundits have suggested. The first, and the least likely is that the Rangers do nothing before the trade deadline and deal with the impending salary cap issues in the off-season. This scenario could happen as the Rangers are now in contention for a playoff run, and won’t do anything to upset the team chemistry that seems so strong in recent weeks.

So the next issue is Chris Kreider. If they do re-sign him, then almost every other player on the roster, with the exceptions of Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, would be on the block. Some players with higher price tags like Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchenvich, Brady Skjei, and Tony DeAngelo could be the players who are traded, to help deal with the salary cap implications of re-signing Kreider

If the Blueshirts cannot re-sign Kreider, he will most likely be traded, probably for a nice haul. This is the scenario that would seem to hurt the Rangers playoff chances the most as this would upset the team chemistry quite a bit. This becomes even more critical as the Rangers begin a stretch of four games against opponents in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

New York Rangers defeat Winnipeg; DeAngelo, Buchnevich join Kreider on Trade List

New York Rangers

Chris Kreider scored two goals and Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves to lead the New York Rangers past the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Kreider’s performance solidified him as the number one trade target heading to the Feb 24 trade deadline, but the Rangers continue to negotiate in order to sign the 28-year-old forward.

Buchnevich and DeAngelo join Kreider as possible New York Ranger trades

Pavel Buchenevich and Tony DeAngelo have risen up TSN’s trade bait chart in response to the New York Ranger’s attempt to re-sign Chris Kreider. This is due to the fact that if the Rangers can sign Kreider, they will most likely have to part ways with a combination of Pavel Buchnevich, Tony DeAngelo and/or possibly Ryan Strome in order to stay under the salary cap for the 2020-2021 season.  Alexandar Georgiev dropped out of their list, but the possibility of a trade still exists before the deadline. Kreider still has many potential suitors, even after the Pittsburgh Penguins may have crossed their name off that list by acquiring Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker.

Shesterkin removed for concussion check, comes back for the win

Igor Shesterkin recorded 42 saves in the win but had to be removed for a concussion check after colliding with a Winnipeg player. At 8:12 of the first, Shesterkin was crashed into by Andrew Copp after the Jets forward was pushed by Tony DeAngelo. Henrik Lundqvist came in to finish the first period and recorded a save as Shesterkin was cleared and re-entered the game in the second period. Shesterkin is the first rookie goaltender in Ranger history who has made at least 40 saves in two consecutive team games and is the first rookie goaltender who has earned a 40-save win in two consecutive personal appearances. Also, Shesterkin’s 238 career saves are the most by a Rangers goalie in his first seven NHL appearances and the most any goalie has made in his first seven appearances with the Rangers. After the game, head coach David Quinn praised his young netminder by saying From where I sit, it doesn’t matter what league he’s in, it doesn’t matter what building he’s in, it doesn’t matter about anything, he just has a net behind him and he’s going to keep the puck out of it, which is a simple approach and it works.”

New York Rangers Brass Keeping Their Poker Faces On as Trade Deadline Nears

New York Rangers

The New York Ranger’s management team appears to heed the words of the legendary Kenny Rogers song The Gambler which includes the lyrics “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away.” With the NHL trade deadline approaching on Feb. 24, the Rangers have been very patient when it comes to whether to trade or keep many of their pending free agents. Sitting in their hand right now, ready to be dealt or held, are these five players: Chris Kreider, Alexandar Georgiev, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome, and Tony DeAngelo.

The New York Rangers have an Ace in Chris Kreider

Insiders are referring to this trade season as a “buyer’s market”, meaning that teams wanting players may not have to give up as much with many teams looking to move players. However, these insiders are also stating that Kreider may be the exception to this, as his skillset and playoff experience has had many Stanley Cup contenders taking a good look at him. There is also some speculation that the Rangers may still want to sign him. All of this makes Kreider their most valuable trade chip.

Rangers’ top brass have been very patient with Georgiev

Alexandar Georgiev has been the goaltender that most thought would be traded after Igor Shesterkin was called up in early January. However, the Rangers did not panic and trade Georgiev for nothing despite the increased media and social media coverage that they have endured about their three goalie situation. The Rangers are holding out for what they perceive as value and will not move him until they get what they want.

Jesper Fast’s fate seems tied to Kreider

In this market, it seems that if Kreiders stays, Fast will go. If Kreider gets traded, the Rangers will probably try to keep and re-sign the forward.  It does not appear that the Rangers can keep both and stay under the salary cap next year.

The Restricted Free-Agent Conundrum

We detailed Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome’s issues for the Blueshirts in a previous article, so we won’t go into a lot of detail. However, it seems that DeAngelo may be the most likely to go as there seem to be more teams looking for defensive help, and the Rangers have quite a few capable defensive prospects in their system. The other RFA that we did not talk about much is Brendan Lemieux, but because he is a bit cap friendly in a position where the Rangers are not all that deep, he is not likely to move.

The New York Rangers have a few Wildcards

Brendan Smith ($4.35 million) and Pavel Buchnevich ($3.25 million) have been mentioned so the Rangers could free up valuable cap space. Brady Skjei is also a possibility, again as cap help and that there appear to be more teams looking for blueline help. Finally, the Rangers still have the Lias Andersson mess to deal with, and a trade deal either by himself or with one of the above players could put that to an end. The Rangers have many cards to play and February will be a busy month for Rangers management.

 

Why the New York Rangers are Considering Trades for Their Restricted Free Agents

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Most people would understand why the New York Rangers would trade unrestricted free agents like Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast. After all, if you don’t trade these guys, they could sign elsewhere in the offseason, and you would get nothing.  However, many have wondered why the Rangers would trade their restricted free agents like Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome since you get something for them if they leave. True, but that becomes the issue. Is that something you get in return better than what you are giving up?

What exactly is Restricted Free Agency?

A restricted free agent in the NHL is a player who has completed his entry-level contract but does not have enough NHL service to become an unrestricted free agent. This player qualifies as a restricted free agent when his contract expires. At that point, any team can make an offer to that player.

When a player signs an offer sheet with a new team, his current team is notified. That team has the right to “match” the offer sheet with an identical contract and keep the player. If they don’t, they are free to sign with the team that made the offer. There is compensation for an NHL team that loses a restricted free agent. The team that declines the offer sheet and loses the player receives draft picks from the player’s new team. There are some other restrictions and such, but that is basically the nuts and bolts of RFA. The decision for the Rangers comes down to do we keep the players, take the draft pick, or take the player we can get in a trade.

What will the New York Rangers do with Tony DeAngelo

The toughest part of this decision is how well DeAngelo has grown throughout the years and how well he is playing this season.  DeAngelo has been even more aggressive offensively this season than in previous years and has shown a knack for getting shots through traffic and on the net. He already has 12 goals, 25 assists, and is a plus-five this season.  It was just a couple of seasons ago that it was difficult for many to imagine DeAngelo ever becoming a top-four defenseman. He has now become a force on the blueline, which makes it tough to trade him. So why do you even think about trading him? Ah, that pesky salary cap issue. Jump back to the beginning of the year when the Rangers could not accommodate him for more than a one-year, $925,000 deal. His good year means that he could demand more in a new contract, and that might not be cap-friendly enough for the Blueshirts.

….. and the same goes for Ryan Strome

Experts have stated that Ryan Strome could ask for five to six million dollars per year in his next contract. Is that something that the Rangers can or want to take on? Again the issue is that Strome has played well this year. He has made a steady improvement from the beginning of the 2018-19 season when he played poorly. Previously Strome has never had more than 50 points before but is on pace for more than 70 this season.  The Rangers brass now has a little less than a month left to sort all of this out.

 

New York Rangers Ryan Strome: “I Want to Stay” and He Probably Should

New York Rangers, Ryan Strome

Among the things that Ryan Strome can visualize is that the New York Rangers are an up and coming team. This and a handful of other reasons is why Strome has told various media people that he would prefer to stay in New York. The only thing that complicates this matter is that he Strome is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this season as he plays out the final season of a two-year, $6.2 million contract that was signed with Edmonton in 2018.

Strome’s case for remaining a New York Ranger

Strome did draw some ire when his ill-advised shift change late in the third period led to the game-winning goal in last Sunday’s game against Colorado. What he would like people to remember is that he is having a terrific year. Strome has averaged a career-high 19:32 of ice time per game this year, and the results have outstanding.

He has generated 12 goals and 31 assists through 48 games, and he’s just seven points shy of a career-high in points heading into the All-Star break. After Sunday’s mistake, he did put his head between his tail and hide as he posted a power-play assist and three shots in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders.  He has also been quoted saying that he enjoys New York, where everything hockey is not blown out of proportion like it was in Edmonton.

Strome is tired of being traded

Strome has been traded twice in the past three years, and he’s hoping to avoid a third time with the Rangers.  The first time he was traded was in 2017 when Islanders sent him to Edmonton for Jordan Eberle. Strome was then traded to the Rangers in November 2018 after posting just three points in the first 18 games of the season.

That was a tough one for him as he felt a connection in the Oiler locker room. It was also tough on his wife as she had just earned a promotion in her job in Edmonton. Most of the possibility of not being traded would be the ability to sign an extension. Given the chemistry that he has displayed with the Rangers, he could be a valuable asset as the Blueshirts continue to rebuild.

New York Rangers Overcome Slow Start, Bury Avalanche

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are getting into a bad habit of having slow starts to games. However, they overcame their most recent slow start and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. In doing so, recently promoted goalie Igor Shesterkin picked up his first NHL victory.

Shesterkin Shines in Debut

Despite going down 2-0, Shesterkin showed resolve in only allowing one more goal after this. For the game, he stopped 29 of the 32 Colorado shots attempted. in earning the win, Shesterkin is one of only two Rangers goaltenders since 1979-80 who have earned a win in their regular-season NHL debut while playing at MSG. A solid debut for a young man who was quoted after the game as saying: “On the way to the arena my hands were shaking, I couldn’t even drink water. But as I stepped onto the ice, I felt everyone’s support and energy and it really helped me”  Head Coach David Quinn was quick to praise his goalie in post-game comments by saying he was impressed that he could  “To be mentally tough enough to pull himself together”.  Of course, this was due to the fact that J.T. Compher scored at 4:44 of the first period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, and Nathan MacKinnon scored his 26th goal on a breakaway to make it 2-0 at 6:34. But to his credit, Shesterkin did not melt. he settled down after that, giving up just one goal on the next 29 shots. Igor Shesterkin became the fifth Rangers goalie in 40 years to win in his NHL debut. The others: Mackenzie Skapski (Feb. 20, 2015), Dan Cloutier (Jan. 3, 1998), Mike Richter (Oct. 19, 1989)  and John Vanbiesbrouck (Dec. 5, 1981).

Strong Offense Picks Up Soft Defense

The defense did not do a lot early to help their young goaltender.  The first goal was scored on a deflection and the second goal was scored on a breakaway. Not a great start to help out a young goaltender. But to their credit, the  Rangers bounced back.  Chris Kreider redirected a Ryan Strome‘pass through the five-hole on the power play to make it 2-1. Mika Zibanejad chipped in a loose puck from the slot under the arm of the Colorado Goalie to tie it 2-2.  Brady Skjei‘s huge slapshot from the blueline at 8:05 of the second period gave New York a 3-2 lead.  Colorado rebounded to tie the game but Strome’s fifth goal in the past six games gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Artemi Panarin added an empty-net goal to make the final score 5-3. So after some slow stretches, the Rangers’ studs are stepping up. Panarin has 10 assists and 12 points in the last six games. Strome has five goals and four assists in his last six games. Mika Zibanejad has 10 goals and 16 points in his last 12 games

New York Rangers’ Resolution to Start Games Better Fails; Lose to Flames

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

Across the board, members of the New York Rangers hockey team stated that they needed to come prepared to play at the beginning of games. This followed the debacle in Edmonton in which the team gave up six goals in the first two periods before a furious rally came up just short. However, that did not happen on Thursday night as the Rangers fell to the Calgary Flames 4-3. Yes, that same Calgary Flames team that had been 0-4-1 in its last five home games.

The New York Rangers have Plenty of Blame to Go Around

In the loss to Edmonton, the poor defensive play was pointed out as one of the main culprits in that game. In Calgary, that was not the case. Sloppy play lead to the first two goals. Poor passing led to Johnny Gaudreau sliding a backhand between Lundqvist’s legs on a breakaway to put Calgary up 1-0 at 4:15 for the first period.

The breakaways were not done as an old nemesis returned to the Ranger power play: too much passing. During a five on three power play, the Rangers passed the puck around multiple times until an errant Tony DeAngelo pass was nabbed by Michael Backlund, who made it 2-0 with another breakaway at 7:16 of the first period.

Not a good way to start a game, especially against a reeling team that had been outscored 22-9 during its five-game home-ice losing streak. A glaring stat from the game was that the line of Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, and Jesper Fast were a -3 for the game, so it is not surprising to see where the sloppy, inconsistent play started.  It does not get better as Saturday as the Rangers head to Vancouver to face a Canucks team that has won six straight.

There was some good news for the New York Rangers

The Rangers did bounce back after going down by two goals. Jacob Trouba scored on the power play on that same 5-on-3 to cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:42. Filip Chytil, still with the man advantage, scored on a rebound 25 seconds later to tie it 2-2. Kaapo Kakko had a goal and an assist breaking a scoring drought while Adam Fox had three assists against the team that drafted him.

The New York Ranger’s Mika Zibanejad Deserves to Play in the NHL All-Star Game

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

The NHL announced on Monday that the New York Ranger’s forward Artemi Panarin has been selected to the All-Star Game. Fans will get a chance to vote for another deserving Ranger in Mika Zibanejad.  The NHL announced the candidates for the Last Men In selection.  Fans can go and vote for one more player to be selected for the contest, and Zibanejed has been placed on the ballot. Voting for the Last Men In opens Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 12 p.m. ET and closes Friday, Jan. 10, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Fans can vote at NHL.com/Vote or on a mobile interactive ballot on the NHL app.

Zibanajed has an All-Star Resume

We know Tony DeAngelo is not a huge fan of analytics, especially when it deals with Ryan Strome. But with all due respect to the Ranger defenseman, we need to dig into the numbers to make a case for Zibanejad. First, let’s take a look at his recent play.  Since Dec. 12, Zibanejad has seven goals in eight games, along with 13 points and five multi-point affairs. Just last Friday, he posted two power-play goals and an assist at even strength in a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes.  For the season, he has 14 goals and 30 points with a plus-4 rating in 25 games.  Taking a look at 2018-19, Zibanejad scored 30 goals, 44 assists for 74 points in the 82 games played.  He is also considered one of the better two-way players in the NHL, as he is only one of 11 forwards this season who is averaging 2 minutes of power-play time and 2 minutes of shorthanded time.  Finally, let’s consider this stat: If we take a look at his most recent 82 games, Zibanejad has 37 goals with 47 assists for a total of 84 points. That makes him one of only 24 players who have averaged more than 1 point per game over that time period.

Of course, New York Ranger fans are very much aware of his skill set. This is to help you persuade friends and family to vote for one of our favorite Blueshirts. Even if he does not get voted in, there is a chance that he could also be selected to replace Alex Ovechkin, who has decided to skip the proceedings in order to rest his 34-year-old body. If so inclined, vote early, vote often and let’s place our well deserved forward into the NHL All-Star classic.