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Rangers should use the second half to audition Ryan Graves

Bobby Bevilacqua

ryan-graves-wolf-pack

Photo courtesy of Chris Rutsch/Hartford Wolf Pack.

It’s no secret that for a large portion of the season, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Rangers. Sure, it’s been better over the last week or two, but the defensive deficiencies and inability to make three balanced pairings has been the biggest source of problems so far.

To recap: Dan Girardi hasn’t been much better than last season, Kevin Klein has been far worse than last season, and the other players haven’t been spectacular either. Ryan McDonagh has done his best to carry this team, but has had some bad games and is often dragged down when partnered with Girardi and Klein. Holden has been a steadying force, Staal is okay and Skjei has had an encouraging rookie season with the expected rookie mistakes and growing pains.

Regardless of what you think about the defensive corps, which also includes Adam Clendening, the bottom line is that they haven’t been able to get the job done on a consistent basis and have cost the Rangers more games than they’ve won. With Marc Staal out, the Rangers have been able to test out Clendening and while we’ve seen some good things from him, he’s not the solution to their problems. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers head to Brooklyn to battle the Islanders; Grabner out, Hrivik in

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-islanders-10-4

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

With the Rangers (17-8-1) in the midst of a rough stretch, having won just four of their last nine games, they’ll take on the lowly Islanders (9-10-5) in the first matchup this season at the Barclays Center.

The Rangers took down the Carolina Hurricanes in their last game, getting two goals from Chris Kreider and one from Michael Grabner and Derek Stepan to secure a win despite playing pretty poorly through the first two periods. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of the 28 shots that he faced.

The Islanders had a dreadful start to the season, opening the season with a 5-9-1 record and sitting in last place in the league. But with a 3-0-1 record in their last four games, they’re finally starting to show signs of life. But they’re still last in the Metropolitan and have the third fewest points in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers recall Cristoval “Boo” Nieves from Hartford

Bobby Bevilacqua

boo-nieves-full-body-10-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This afternoon, New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced that the team has recalled Cristoval Nieves from the Hartford Wolf Pack, and he will join the team immediately.

Nieves has skated in 13 games with Hartford, registering a goal and five assists, putting him third on the team in points and second in assists. He has recorded four assists/points in the last seven games and is the only member of the Wolf Pack to not have a penalty called against him. In 21 career AHL games, he has a total of three goals and 11 points. Read the rest of this entry

Brady Skjei a perfect partner for Ryan McDonagh on the blueline

Bobby Bevilacqua

brady skjei full body 12-15

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Not a lot of good came out of the Rangers’ five game series against the Penguins. With defensive injuries and a slacking team, the Rangers stood no chance against the now Eastern Conference Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite defensive injuries and problems, Brady Skjei emerged as a strong, consistent defenseman despite minimal NHL experience. In a high pressure situation, Skjei played better than just about every Rangers defenseman in the playoffs.

On top of showing that he could play in the NHL at a high level, Skjei showed something else that was more important – he can play the right side. Read the rest of this entry

Quick Hits: Derek Stepan trade value, AV’s comments on the team, and Beukeboom getting promoted?

Bobby Bevilacqua

alain vigneault 10-10

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With the Stanley Cup Finals underway (Game 2 tonight on NBC), there isn’t a lot to talk about with the Rangers until the offseason rolls around. Apart from European and College free agents, not much action has happened and there are just rumors flying around right now.

Everything that can be said about the Rangers has been said. A week or so ago, Larry Brooks surprised everyone by saying that there’s almost nobody that is off limits in a trade, with Lundqvist, Buchnevich and Skjei being the only untouchables. But Alain VIgneault backed that statement, going even further when talking to reporters at a golf tournament in Canada yesterday. Read the rest of this entry