Browsing Posts tagged Chris Drury

The New York Rangers have announced that Ryan Callahan has been named the 26th captain in the team’s history. Callahan will be taking over the captain’s role from Connecticut’s own Chris Drury, who was bought out and subsequently retired this past offseason. Callahan becomes the first “home-grown” prospect to be named captain since Brian Leetch was given the honor back in the 1999-2000 season.

Although there was speculation that newly-acquired center Brad Richards was in the running to be the next captain, to me the correct choice was always Callahan. He does everything you would expect a captain to do, and always has – he plays the game the way a leader should, does whatever is needed to win, and is well respected by his teammates as well as around the NHL.

After the jump, I’ll tell you why Callahan was the right choice to don the “C” on his sweater.

NYRzone.com

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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In the final weeks of the regular season the Rangers were in a four-team race for the final three playoff spots, fighting the Bruins, Flyers, and Canadiens. We all know how it ended. Now that the first round of the playoffs is in the books, very few people believed before the playoffs began that the Bruins (6th seed), Flyers (7th), and Canadiens (8th) would have won their first round match-up. Would the Rangers have advanced to the second round if they qualified for a playoff seed, as the three teams they fought for a playoff spot have?
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Overview
The Rangers faceoff against the New Jersey Devils tonight at the Prudential Center (7:00 p.m.) in a game against Atlantic Division rivals. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 32-32-9 (73 pts.). continue reading…

Rangers forward, Ryan Callahan

Overview
The Rangers faceoff against their Atlantic Division rivals, the New York Islanders tonight at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 31-32-9 (71 pts.). continue reading…

The Rangers conclude a three-game homestand tonight when they faceoff against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their final meeting with a Western Conference opponent on the 2009-10 regular season schedule. continue reading…

Chris Drury isn’t the kind of leader that is outspoken and vocal. He leads by example, and that often gets his intangibles overlooked. But like other captains of that nature, Drury picks his spots continue reading…


Overview

The Rangers continue their final three-game homestand of the season tonight when they faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in an Original Six matchup. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 31-29-9 (71 pts.). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. New York has now registered a point in seven of their last nine contests, posting a record of 5-2-2 (12 pts.) over the span, including a 2-0-2 mark in their last four games at MSG. The Canadiens enter the contest with a 35-29-6 (76 pts.) record to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers conclude their three-game homestand on Thursday, Mar. 18, when they will face-off against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their final meeting with a Western Conference opponent on the 2009-10 regular season schedule.

Game Notes
With the win on Sunday over Philadelphia, the Rangers are five points back of the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, held by both Philadelphia and Montreal (76 pts. each), and just one point back of Boston (72 pts.) in the eighth spot. With a Boston loss tonight (they play in Carolina against a red-hot Hurricanes team) and a Rangers win in regulation, the Blueshirts would slide back into the playoff picture. The Candiens however, will make a Rangers win difficult to come by. “Les Habitants” have won five straight, and seven in their last ten.

Every game now is a playoff game for the Rangers. The Rangers seem to be coming together and playing like a team down the stretch, making a serious push for the last three playoff spots in the East. The stars may be aligning at just the right time, but the next two games will be a real test for this club. “These are desperate times for us,” captain Chris Drury said. “Obviously every game is a big game and now we have to regroup and get ready for a real good Montreal team that is one of the hottest teams in the League.”

Prediction
“We have been in the same position before,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “Like I said, don’t look too far ahead. Don’t start thinking we have to win 10 out of 13 or something; we just have to win the next game.”
Lundqvist is 6-1-0 with a 1.86 GAA, and one shutout, in his last seven home starts versus Montreal. He has been terrific all season, and even better as of late. Although the Rangers have played extremely inconsistent from game-to-game almost all season long, they realize what’s at stake here. With just 13 games left, and 8 on the road, the Blueshirts know that each game gets more and more important if they want to play playoff hockey. They are prepared; they are focused; the playoff push continues tonight.

Rangers win, 3-1

Shot Calling – goal tonight for Marian Gaborik

Written By: Mike Ulatoski

One game after coach John Tortorella made Sean Avery a healthy scratch, Avery delivered a performance that should keep him in the New York Rangers lineup for the rest of the season.

Avery scored two goals and drew two penalties as the Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The win was the Rangers’ second straight, and moved them within one point of the Boston Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“He was huge today,” Rangers captain Chris Drury said of Avery. “When he is playing straight-ahead hockey like he did today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more effective guy. The hits he had, the goals he had, the way he got under their skin. It was just huge for us.”

Michal Rozsival’s power-play goal in the second period put the Rangers ahead for good.

Henrik Lundqvist made saves when they needed to be made, stopping 17 out of a total of 18 shots. This is his second win in a row after getting yanked against New Jersey on March 10 for allowing five goals on 17 shots.

The Flyers are tied with the Montreal Canadiens with 76 points, good for sixth place in the East. But Sunday’s regulation loss trimmed their cushion on the ninth-place Rangers to just five points.

Avery played with a purpose on Sunday after he was a healthy scratch against the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night. Aside from his two goals, he delivered plenty of big hits and drew a roughing penalty on the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell during the second period and an interference call on Braydon Coburn in the third. [I thought Hartnell deserved a four-minute minor during the ensuing scrum with Avery. Aves never dropped his gloves, yet Hartnell threw punches and continued to do so while Avery was being held by an official.]

The Flyers scored on their first shot on goal. With Olli Jokinen in the penalty box for slashing, Danny Briere wristed a shot through heavy traffic that found its way past Lundqvist, just 4:13 into the game, to make it 1-0.

The Rangers tied it off of a faceoff win by Erik Christensen, who pulled the puck back to Wade Redden. He ripped a shot that was initially stopped by Flyers’ goalie Michael Leighton, but Avery beat Flyers defenseman Matt Carle to the front of the net and backhanded the rebound chance just 1:53 into the second period to make it a 1-1 game.

Michal Rozsival put the Rangers up 2-1 with a power-play goal just 3:01 later. His rocket from the point deflected off the inside of the post and past Leighton, who was helpless against a great screen directly in front by Chris Drury. Christensen was credited with his second assist of the game on the goal, and I feel he is making a very strong case to be a part of the future plans of the Rangers.

With the Rangers playing a solid defensive third period, Avery had a monster shift that swung the game permanently in the Rangers’ favor. First, he harassed Flyers’ defenseman Ryan Parent and forced a turnover at center ice, which led to a scoring opportunity for Drury. Then, as the Flyers tried to regroup, he received a pass from Dan Girardi on the left wing, skated into the circle, and whipped a wrister past Leighton at 14:05 of the third period.

Avery was far from the only skater wearing the blue sweater who played with passion on Sunday. Rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto was a consistent physical presence and played a very smart game in his own defensive end, and defensemen Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival also played big minutes on Sunday.

Brandon Dubinsky drew a standing ovation from The Garden Faithful when he put a beating on Flyers’ captain Mike Richards in their center-ice fight with 3:46 remaining in the third.

“That’s a good club we played, coming off a huge win for them (against Chicago),” said Tortorella. “I thought we stood in there in the physical part of the game, and played very well as a team. We can enjoy it and then get back to work for our next game against Montreal.”

The Rangers faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens at MSG on Tuesday night, the second game of a three-game homestand for the Blueshirts which concludes on Thursday with a contest against the St. Louis Blues.

Three Stars
1st: Sean Avery – 2 goals
2nd: Michal Rozsival – 1 goal (powerplay)
3rd: Henrik Lundqvist – 17 saves on 18 shots

Written By: Mike Ulatoski

Olli Jokinen’s first game-winner with the New York Rangers gave them a 3-2 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Playing in his fifth game with New York since being acquired in a four-player trade from Calgary, Jokinen took a pass from Michal Rozsival, skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot through defenseman Kris Letang’s legs and over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s stick-side shoulder.  It was Jokinen’s second goal with the Rangers and 13th overall this season.

“I think he’s been playing okay for us but … okay isn’t good enough because we’re not winning,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella, whose team had lost eight of 10 coming in. “So it’s a big play by him… Hopefully it will give him some confidence. You always want to be accepted when you come to a new group, and when you score an overtime game winner that’s a big avenue for him as far as joining in with the team.”

New York’s victory marks the first time the Rangers have won in Pittsburgh in their last eight trips, and their first win against the Penguins in their last eight meetings overall.  With the win the Rangers moved to within two points of the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.

The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby scored twice to achieve a career-high 41 goals.  He trails Washington’s Alex Ovechkin by a goal for the NHL lead.  It is Crosby’s first 40-goal season in the NHL, and I bet he’ll get to 50 by the end of the season.

With the OT loss, Pittsburgh gained a point but fell two points behind first-place New Jersey, who won Friday night, in the Atlantic Division.

New York played most of the game with only 16 skaters after defenseman Michael Del Zotto sustained “a significant laceration” in a collision with Penguins star Evgeni Malkin and had the side of his abdomen land on Malkin’s skate.

Rangers star Marian Gaborik dressed and had 4:02 of ice time over six shifts during the first period after being a game-time decision. He missed a home game Wednesday night against Nashville after cutting his right thigh during a collision with goalie Henrik Lundqvist in practice a day before.

Brandon Dubinsky tied it 1:28 into the second period (I called that) when he one-timed a blind backhand pass from Chris Drury.  Drury was behind the net and found Dubinsky in the left slot.  The goal was Dubinsky’s 13th of the season, just his second since January 1.  It also was Drury’s first assist since January 17.

Vaclav Prospal gave New York the lead 8:16 later with his 13th goal of the season, and fourth in his past four games.

Penguins’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped the first 17 shots he faced in relief of backup Brent Johnson, who left the game with 3:55 to play in the second period due to a lower-body injury.
The stage was set for yet another New York Ranger meltdown against the Penguins. They had a lead going into the third, they blew the lead to a Sidney Crosby goal, and it seemed like they were going to add another tally to the loss column.  But Olli Jokinen (who said he was going to have a great game) skated down the ice, rifled a shot and lit the lamp in overtime.

While this is a big win, it’s the first step of a long journey if the Rangers expect to make the playoffs.  The Blueshirts next game is this Sunday against Tampa Bay, the last game before their Olympic break begins.

The Rangers lost another player to a cut from a skate on Friday.  Rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto collided with Penguins center Evgeni Malkin near the boards and fell on Malkin’s skate with the side of his abdomen. He sustained what team officials termed “a significant laceration” and will also not return.

“The playoffs have already started for us; we have to start winning,” Lundqvist said. “A big part of the game is to be focused. Whatever happens during the game, you can’t let that affect us — if it’s a goal or a guy can’t play for us, all the guys have to step up even more. We did that tonight.”

Written By: Mike Ulatoski

#1 SEED United States (5-0-0-0, 22 goals for, 6 goals against) vs. #6 SEED Canada (4-0-1-1, 32 goals for, 14 goals against), 3:15 ET, NBC

What to Watch For:
Most of the NHL’s best players going at it with reckless abandon for 60 minutes, with the home side defending the honor of “their sport” and the visiting neighbor continuing its quest for hockey respect.

If you tune in late, you’ll probably miss a few thunderous bodychecks. If you blink you might miss a perfect breakout pass that leads to a breakaway. If you look away, you might miss a perfect, top shelf wrist shot. Don’t count on anything other than minute after minute of rivalry-fueled hockey. Nobody puts more on the line than NHL players, and we’ll be able to see that today.

Team Reports

Canada – This has hardly been the march to gold that many expected before the tournament began. Canada stunningly was extended to a shootout against Switzerland, which Sidney Crosby and Brodeur pulled out, and lost to Team USA in group play. And after obliterating overmatched Germany in the quarterfinals and blasting Russia, Canada survived a major scare when Slovakia came within a desperate Luongo save with 8 seconds left of erasing a 3-0 deficit in Friday’s semifinal. Through six games, the Canadians have played stretches of awe-inspiring hockey that prompted Slovak star Marian Hossa to compare them with the legendary Soviet teams of the ’70s and ’80s. But, Canada also has had some inexplicable hiccups. These have prompted head coach Mike Babcock to shake up his lineup, almost every game, and change starting goaltenders.

United States – Center Ryan Kesler said last August that Team USA would beat Canada in the Olympics, and that they would win a medal. Patrick Kane said, “We’re not coming here just to win bronze or silver.” Nobody outside of the American’s locker room believed any of this was possible.

The Americans have been more consistent and focused than any team in the tournament, and they have never trailed in any game so far. They hammered the opponent (Norway) they were supposed to crush. They patiently outlasted a dangerous Switzerland team, twice, and did what was necessary to upset Canada. Then, amazingly, Team USA destroyed Finland with a six-goal first period in the semifinals.

Ryan Miller has been spectacular in net, the no-doubt MVP of the tournament, and will need to be one more time. The best goaltender in the NHL this season, the Buffalo Sabres’ netminder leads these Games in both goals against average (1.04) and save percentage (.954). And he hasn’t allowed a goal in his last 111:38 of play – since Sidney Crosby beat him late in the third period of their pool play finale.

When Patrick Kane erupted for two goals against Finland, it meant that every American was doing the job for which Burke had selected him.

Still, even if it is the No. 1 seed as a result of pool play and gets to wear its blue sweaters, Team USA remains the underdog going into this game. There’s still the question of whether this group of young, brash Americans have enough jam to win on the biggest stage most of them have ever played on, in front of the most intense atmosphere most of them have never quite experienced.

Total NHL Players – All 46 are on NHL rosters. This is an NHL All-Star Game, played at the intensity level of a seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Puck Drop
It’s not 1980 in Lake Placid. The U.S. is not facing Russia, the greatest team to ever play hockey, in the midst of the Cold War. It’s 2010.  It’s Vancouver, and Team USA is facing Canadians on home ice. Again. And while nothing will ever compare to the Miracle, a U.S. win today would be miraculous.

Miracles can happen.

USA 4, Canada 3

Shot Calling – goal for Zach Parise