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Posts Tagged ‘christian backman’

The Rangers traded defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forwards Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche.

In addition to adding some size and depth up front, the move will clear up some cap space for the Rangers to potentially make some moves (i.e. re-sign Jagr, acquire either Naslund or Huselius).

In my opinion, moving Backman and his $3.4 million off the roster and off the salary cap is a great move, but the loss of Tyutin is significant.  Tyutin has been a solid defenseman for the Rangers.  However, the acquisition of Redden gave the Rangers 4 top-notch defenseman (Redden plus Staal, Rozsival, and Girardi).  Therefore, Tyutin became non-essential.  This trade is good news for Bobby Sanguinetti.

Zherdev is young and seems to have a knack for putting the puck in the net.  The 6’2″ right wing is just 23 years old and scored 26 goals to go along with 35 assists in 2007-2008.  He is set to make $3.25 million in 2008-09, with only $2.5 million charged against the cap.

Fritsche is a 6’1″ center who is also 23 years old.  He had 10 goals and 12 assists last season.

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The Rangers and Sean Avery are still negotiating, but it doesn’t look good.  John Dellapina reports that the Rangers are ready to let Avery go to free agency.  Those of you who have read this blog in the past know where we stand on Avery.  If you don’t know, read The Case for Avery.  If you don’t want to read that, here’s a summary.  We like him. 

Avery wants about $4 million per season.  The Rangers want to pay about $2.75 million.  For the Rangers to let Avery go to free agency over this difference is ridiculous.  For crying out loud, the Rangers are going to pay Christian Backman more money next season than they are offering Avery!  WTF?

In happier news, the Rangers have been given permission to negotiate with Sharks Defenseman Brian Campbell, who is exactly the Power Play quarterback the Rangers were missing this season.

Larry Brooks has a full article up on the Post website.  Read it here.

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On the ice: Expect the same lineup in Game 5 that we saw in Game 4. Sam Weinman reports that Jason Strudwick is likely to play in place of Christian Backman again.

Off the ice: Sean Avery is still in the hospital, but was moved out of the ICU this morning.  That’s good news for Avery.  Get well soon!

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As if coming back from 0-3 in the series wasn’t going to be hard enough, the Rangers are going to have to do with it without Sean Avery (lacerated spleen), Blair Betts (broken bone in face), and without a 100% Chris Drury (torso injury). Drury is probable but after watching him skate at half speed and not taking any faceoffs in the 3rd period of game 3, I have to think he’s playing hurt.

So, where does that leave the Rangers? Well, the situation is not very good. Betts and Drury are the team’s top penalty killers, and the Penguins power play was destroying the Rangers despite Betts and Drury’s best efforts. I would be surprised to see Drury on the penalty kill even if he does play tonight. Now, without their services, it will be up to Scott Gomez, Ryan Callahan, and possibly Brandon Dubinsky to really step up their penalty killing.

Who is going to fill the empty spots in the lineup? Hartford call-up Lauri Korpikoski is going to play center for the 4th line but it’s not clear who will play wing and it’s also not clear who will play on the 2nd line in place of Sean Avery. It will be some combination of Prucha, Orr, and Hollweg. Korpikoski, the 19th overall pick in the 2004 draft, will be making his NHL debut tonight. Hopefully he can make the most of his 2-3 shifts per period. I think Prucha makes the most sense to fill in on the 2nd line. On Defense, Jason Strudwick will play along side Paul Mara in place of Christian Backman.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the situation does not look very good. But, there is still some hope. The Rangers have lost 3 in a row, but the Pens haven’t exactly dominated the Rangers in this series. The Rangers let a 3-goal lead slip through their fingers in game 1, and in game 3 the Rangers dominated the flow of the game but couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances as effectively as the Penguins.

It’s possible, right?

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This is an obvious statement, but the Rangers have to win this game tonight. If they get the series back to 2-1, they are still alive. 3-0 is a different story.

You won’t see me quote a basketball coach too often in a hockey blog, but Doc Rivers had a great quote last night after the Celtics lost game 4. He said, “I could hear them in the locker room, saying ‘hey, guys we’re going back home, it’s going to be okay.’ I told them, ‘You have to go make it okay.’ We have to go make it okay.”

Since falling into the 0-2 hole, the Rangers have all been saying that they were still in this series because they were heading home to MSG. I just hope they remember that nothing magical happens when you take your home ice that suddenly makes you play better. The team is going to have to earn these wins. Playing at MSG with 18,000 fans at your back is going to help, but nothing is automatic.

A few game notes:

Remember that lineup shuffle from yesterday? Scratch that. Petr Prucha will be scratched in favor of Ryan Hollweg, which presumably means that Shanahan will skate in his usual spot with Gomez and Avery. Strudwick will also be scratched, which means the fans at MSG will see plenty of Christian Backman tonight. Renney said that Paul Mara will probably see some time on the power play unit, so we got that right.

Despite Therrien’s comments yesterday that suggest otherwise, the Rangers feel they have done very little this series to make it hard for Marc-Andre Fleury to see the puck. Renney’s reaction to hearing Therrien’s comments: “Really?” The Rangers beat up on Martin Brodeur in round 1 by putting bodies in front for screens and deflections. Look for a return to that form tonight at MSG.

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It’s finally here.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

Here is the definitive Rangers/Devils series preview, brought to you by a joint effort of the creators of this blog. Can Sean Avery and the Rangers expect more of the same against the Devils during the playoffs? The only way to find out is to keep reading.

It’s on the long side, so click the “more” link below to continue reading.

(more…)

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After starting the game without the services of the injured Blair Betts, the Rangers quickly lost another Center when Scott Gomez hit a rut in the ice and crashed into the boards early in the first period. Early reports were that he had broken 2 ribs, but reports from Steve Zipay, Sam Weinman, and John Dellapina say that Gomez has no broken bones and may in fact play on Tuesday. No word yet on what the plan is if Gomez won’t be able to play.

So the Rangers lost in a shootout. Frankly, I’m amazed the game actually made it to a shootout. The Rangers looked lost for the first two periods and were kept in the game by Stephen Valiquette. It wasn’t until the Flyers scored in the third period to make it 2-0 that the Rangers suddenly realized they needed to, as Marc would say, “flip the switch.” And as the Flyers fans, content with their team’s two-goal lead, began a chant of, “Rangers suck,” the Rangers suddenly turned it on.

Sidebar: There are many things that are chanted at hockey games. But there are very few that will anger the Hockey Gods. One of the chants that I feel is a big no-no is to chant that the other team sucks. I’ve been to many Rangers games and I’ve heard it twice. Both times, it’s come back to bite us, hard. Once against the Devils (Rangers up 1-0 then lost 2-1) and once against the Flyers (Rangers up 2-0 then lost 3-2).

Now, the Flyers fans were chanting, “Rangers suck!” and suddenly, the Rangers had tied the game at 2-2. The Flyers ended up scoring again but then Jaromir Jagr, of all people, threw the puck towards the net from an off angle and–OH MY GOD!— it deflected into the net off of a Flyer!

So what is the lesson that the Rangers have to take from this game?

  1. Get bodies in front of the net! This screens the goalie and sets up deflections.
  2. Take shots on said net. You’re not gonna score unless you shoot. (duh)
  3. Pounce on rebounds. If you’ve completed steps 1 and 2, step 3 should present itself and lead to goals!

Honestly, I can’t be disappointed that the Rangers only got one point from this game. The way they played, they really didn’t deserve any. Hopefully they feel the presure on Tuesday and pick it up against the Flyers in the rematch at MSG.

***

Notes: Christian Backman had an assist on all three goals last night. This was Stephen Valiquette’s first start since February 10 against the Capitals in Washington.

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