NEW YORK, NY – The injuries are mounting and the New York Rangers are dropping points with reckless abandon. The West Coast trip that wrapped up last night was an unmitigated disaster. The Blueshirts capitulated to the Colorado Avalanche on their way out west. Once in California, they didn’t fare any better against the Kings and Ducks. Last night against the San Jose Sharks, they managed to win 6-5 in a barn-burner in the Bay Area.
The Broadway Blues went into the late games last night even on points with the Islanders for the last wild card spot. And things are not looking good. Chris Kreider is most likely out for the season, greatly diminishing any trade potential he had as well as diminishing the Rangers’ chances of making a playoff run. Kevin Shattenkirk is now on the shelf for the season after having knee surgery last week.
Shattenkirk is great on the power play, but has been a bit of a liability defensively. That said, his absence is a bitter pill for the team.
The team’s defensive core was pretty terrible as it was. Now problem child Anthony DeAngelo has been called up. It’s no wonder they shipped a half dozen goals Tuesday night in Anaheim. DeAngelo had assists against the Kucks (Kings & Ducks), but he still managed to be -1 against the Kings. He’s got speed for days but he’s not a good defenseman. The Rangers are low on good defensemen. McDonagh has had a rough year so far. He’s been set up for failure by being paired with Nick Holden for much of the season. McDonagh didn’t have a goal this season until putting the biscuit in the basket twice last night. Kevin Hayes missed a few games with an injury of his own but he’s back and also scored in last night’s win.
Meanwhile, Management has a month to decide whether they’ll be buyers or sellers at the deadline. If current trends continue, they’ll surely be sellers. McDonagh’s name keeps coming up in trade talks and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rangers traded away their captain. They’ve done it before. I’m not sure they could trade Rick Nash – even if they wanted to. Nash has played exceptionally well of late but his $7.8 million cap hit and no-trade clause makes him tough to move. I can see the Rangers trying to bring in help for the run-in. But I’m hoping they don’t trade away the future for it.
The NHL All Star game is this weekend. They’re keeping the 3-on-3 format from last season, which makes for some exciting play. The games are on Sunday at the same time as the NFL Pro Bowl. The format is a good one and it’s definitely worth checking out over the annual two-hand-touch football game in Orlando. Next weekend there’s another football game, I’m told. Whoever wins, we all lose. Most people around these parts are probably rooting for an Act of God to cancel the Big Game.
That’s it for me today. Enjoy the NFL and NHL All Star weekends and come back tomorrow for Junoir Blaber, who couldn’t stop a beach ball with an oar and an Act of God.