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I was over at Puck Daddy where they are having a live chat.  I posed a question about something I read about last night while watching the Mets lose their 7 run lead.  It turns out that there are rumors swirling around that the Rangers are shopping Scott Gomez in order to make room for Mats Sundin under the cap.  I know.  Ridiculous.  I asked my question which was then answered by Spector and David Pagnotta.  Greg Wyshynski was just there for moral support I guess.

1:15
Wyshynski –  Bingo. Back to Gomez, because Dave didn’t get a crack earlier:
1:15
[Comment From Eric from 5-hole.com]
Does it even make sense for the Rangers to move Gomez and Prucha just to make room for Sundin? Prucha proved in his first season that, when given the ice time, he can produce and Gomez is a great center that has more years left in him than Sundin.
1:15
Spector –  Seriously, though, Dave’s right about the vacation
1:15
Wyshynski –  Pags, what do you make of the Gomez stuff?
1:15
Spector –  THE RANGERS AREN’T MOVING GOMEZ!!!!!
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  I’d be quite surprised if they move Gomez… and talking to a few people around the league, it’s not a real option for the Rangers.
1:16
Wyshynski –  Ow, angry Spector emoticon! The man is serious!!!!!!
1:16
Spector –  
1:16
[Comment From oilersrock99]
I think Spector’s gassy…somebody burp him…
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  haha, I feel your pain Spec
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  Gomez is sticking it out in the Big Apple.

About 15 minutes before I got to the party, and the reason Spector put on his angry face when I asked, Wyshynski and Spector answered my question.

1:02
[Comment From Neil]
So is Gomez being shopped around or not?
1:02
Spector –  Hi, Neil, no, Gomez isn’t being shopped
1:02
Wyshynski –  NO!
1:02
Wyshynski –  Look, like we said this morning: He’s in the second year of a SEVEN YEAR DEAL, and we haven’t even seen him play with a winger that he can mesh with yet.
1:03
[Comment From Neil]
and so now what is the likliehood of Sundin winding up w/ the Rangers?
1:03
Spector –  Of course now that there’s no truth to the Gomez rumors, expect the “Drury to be dealt to Vancouver” rumors to start anytime now.
1:03
Spector –  Unless the Rangers dump considerable salary Sundin won’t be a Blueshirt. Simple as that.
1:03
Wyshynski –  Ha! Indeed. And I thonk Drury’s NTC is even more water-tight than Gomez’s.
1:03
Spector –  It sure is!
1:03
Wyshynski –  think, not thonk. Thonk is not a word.
1:03
[Comment From Guest]
Why would they trade Gomez to make room for a player that most likely wont last 2 more seaons?
1:04
Spector –  You just answered your own question.
1:04
Wyshynski –  Well, the theory is that the Rangers want to drop salary.
1:04
Spector –  It won’t be Drury or Gomez.
1:04
Wyshynski –  Because, you know, the Rangers always want to drop salary

And here’s some Bruins talk from the trio of bloggers for my Bruins fan friend:

1:16
Wyshynski –  This one is just begging for us to address:
1:16
[Comment From Super Dave West]
Who are you prognosticators, and why is there no Bruins talk here?
1:16
Spector –  Because there’s little to write about regarding the B’s
1:16
DavidPagnotta –  Here’s some Bruins talk… their practice facility is in the middle of NO WHERE!
1:17
Spector –  No news is good new ,right?
1:17
DavidPagnotta –  Took me forever to find that place
1:17
Wyshynski –  There’s no Bruins talk because they’re capped out and their coach is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … oh, sorry. Nodded off.
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Tonight’s games include Game 7 of the Bruins-Canadiens series and Game 6 of the Flyers-Capitals series.

The Rangers can still play any team that is left except for Boston. Here are the scenarios:

  • If Boston wins, the Rangers will play the winner of the Flyers-Capitals series.
  • If Montreal wins and the Flyers win, the Rangers will play the Penguins.
  • If Montreal wins and the Capitals win, the Rangers will play the Canadiens.

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In a game that could have locked up 5th place as a lowest possible finish, the Rangers came out and went 0 for 8 on the Power Play and also gave up a shorthanded goal while on a 5-on-3 advantage. Seriously.

The Rangers still managed to force a shootout, but quickly fell behind 2-0. The Rangers managed to fight back to even the shootout at 2 goals apiece. (After Sjostrom punched in the 2nd shootout goal, MSG was in a frenzy). But, the Islanders scored a 3rd shootout goal in their 4th attempt and that was that.

I’d run through the playoff scenarios, but Steve Zipay aleady did a pretty good job, so I’m just going to copy and paste what he said here:

Some of the Rangers permutations.
A regulation win against the Devs gives them fourth and home-ice advantage.
A regulation loss could put them in sixth against either Carolina or Washington. A point or an overtime win or a Boston loss to Buffalo gives them fifth and a visit to Newark. A Bruins win and a Rangers loss in regulation would give Boston fifth place because the Bruins own the tie-breaker.

There you have it. I’ll be watching the Final Four tonight but keeping a close eye on the Bruins/Sabres game. If Buffalo wins, the Rangers can’t finish lower than 5th place.

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This is the 4th and final meeting of the season between the Rangers and Bruins, with the Bruins having won all 3 games thus far (although the Rangers have posted an 0-1-2 record). The Rangers will be trying to extend their unbeaten-in-regulation streak to 12 games.

There seems to be consensus among sportswriters that the Bruins have been struggling of late because of their 1-2-1 record in their last 4 games. Well, what about the 6 games before that in which they ripped off 6 W’s in a row? 7-2-1 in their last 10 is hardly struggling, and if they had lost any momentum they certainly regained it yesterday with a ridiculous come-from-behind win over the Capitals (see yesterday’s post).

In net for the Bruins today, it’s a mystery. The Boston Globe says Alex Auld “deserves” to play against the Rangers after allowing just 1 goal in two straight starts. Meanwhile, Steve Zipay of Newsday says to “expect” Tim Thomas in the net because Auld played yesterday. My prediction: they will both play.

Bruins defenseman and all-around tall guy Zdeno Chara will not play today because of an injury to his shoulder. (That whoosh sound you just heard was Jaromir Jagr breathing a sigh of relief).

The Rangers have adopted an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy during this hot streak, and will continue with the same lineup they’ve had for the last few games, which means Prucha, Strudwick, and Hollweg will be healthy scratches. That also means Mr. Lundqvist will be between the pipes once again. I expect Valiquette will get in there sometime next weekend, whether it’s Friday against the Panthers or Saturday against the Lightning.

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The Rangers have now dropped to 7th in the East after Boston’s stunning 2-1 win today over the Capitals. What’s so stunning about a 2-1 win, you ask? Well, with the Caps winning 1-0 with 6:41 left in the game, Donald “Goon Extraordinaire” Brashear took a TRIPLE-MINOR!!! That’s 6 freakin penalty minutes. Technically, he was originally called for a double-minor for a high stick, but then he decided it would be a great idea to punch Boston defenseman Shane Hnidy in the face after the whistle to complete the trifecta. Boston ended up having two different 5-on-3 power plays during the course of those 6 minutes thanks to penalties committed by John Erskine and Tom Poti, and capitalized on both of the two-man advantages.

The Bruins and Rangers are tied in points at 79 but the Bruins have 36 wins to the Rangers 35. The two teams will meet in a Sunday matinee at the Garden tomorrow in a game that now has even more importance to the playoff picture. Game Preview coming soon!

I caught a replay yesterday of this year’s All-Star Skills Competition, which took place on Jan 29th. Behind the bench for the Eastern Conference: former Ottawa Senators Coach John Paddock. That was a definitely a little bit strange. It got me thinking, has there ever been a coach who led their team to the finals in one season, led the team to the hottest start in the league the next season, coached in the All-Star Game, and then got fired within a month?

CORRECTION (2:00 PM 3/9/08): Bryan Murray was the head coach that led Ottawa to the finals last year. After the end of the 2006-2007 season, the Senators fired general manager John Muckler and promoted Murray to GM. Paddock had been an assistant coach and was promoted to head coach. (Thanks to commenter j2i2m22 for pointing that out.)

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