The Rangers Game Log

Monday, December 12, 2005

Off Day Tidbits - Dec 12

- The Rangers are still tied with the Ottawa Senators for the top spot in the conference, but the games in hand total is down to five from six, so there’s some progress for you. The Blueshirts will finally get their first look at the Sens on the road the day after Xmas.

Ottawa made what will be for them in the new NHL a rare trip to western Canada this past weekend, and they “lost” twice, beaten in Vancouver in a shootout and in Calgary in overtime. The fans and press were psyched in both cities, seeing it as a “measuring stick” game for their teams. The crowds were reported as 18,630 (101.1% full) in Vancouver, and a sardine-like 19,289 (112.4% full) in Calgary! Sounds like the NYC subway during rush hour.

The Calgary Sun proclaimed: Turns out the Calgary Flames have no reason to sell themselves short when it comes to measuring against the club pegged as the NHL's best. The Vancouver Sun said: So now we know -- don't we?-- that the Vancouver Canucks can be every bit as good as the best team in hockey. Jeez, imagine if either team had actually won their game in regulation! The Canucks wasted 12 power play chances against a sharp Dominick Hasek and needed to go to the 4th shootout round to get the second point.

In Ottawa of course, it was a distinctly different take.
The Senators hit the skids for a second straight night, turning in a lacklustre effort in dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to the Calgary Flames in front of 19,289 last night at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

All [Damon] Langkow had to do was put the puck home over a sprawling Emery as the Senators didn’t put up much in the way of the fight and got what they deserved in a game that was billed as a Stanley Cup final preview. [Ottawa Sun]
(Is every newspaper in Canada a Sun?) The Sens’ massive defenseman Zdeno Chara is getting attention in the hockey blogosphere; James Mirtle wrote the other day of The emergence of The Chara.
Leafs fans may groan when his name is mentioned as a Norris Trophy candidate, but Chara simply does so many things well and makes it so tough for the opposition to play against him that I can't imagine a scenario where he doesn't win at least one in his career.
With Wade Redden out since late November, Chara is logging over 30 minutes a game. This was one of Mike “The Shoe” Milbury’s more brilliant deals, trading Chara and the second overall pick (Jason Spezza) for Alexei Yashin, who he then locked in for ten years. Spezza leads the Sens in scoring with 11 goals and 32 assists and a plus 20 rating. Yashin is having a decent season statistically at 12-17-29, but note that he has less goals than a certain 8th round draft pick rookie who's played far less minutes in Manhattan; and we know what happens to Yashin when the Isles make their annual one-round playoff appearance (not assured this season by any means).

The Sens complete a tough three-in-four day road stretch with a game in Colorado tonight. The Canucks have rested since “beating” the Sens Friday, and will be at the Garden Tuesday. Trevor Linden is the only player left on either team from the 94 finals; and he’s had a couple of stops elsewhere in between.

- Tony Amonte scored his 400th NHL goal against the Sens on Saturday, and who woulda thunk? A 4th round pick for the Blueshirts, he scored 68 goals in his first two seasons, but only 16 when he was dispatched to Chicago by Mike Keenan in the trade that brought Brian Noonan and Stephane Matteau to New York. 316 NHL goals later for Amonte, now 35, I’ve never heard anyone complain about that deal.

- Larry Brooks talks up the possibility of a deal for Petr Sykora in the Post today. Sykora is 29, and will be a free agent after the season. He has just five goals and eight assists thus far this season.


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