Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rangers Rolling!

The Rangers right now are playing very well. They have cut down on the opposition's scoring chances and when they do give up a quality chance their netminders have been stellar. One of the best lines in hockey right now is the Nylander-Straka-Jagr line. I have to hand it to Head Coach Tom Renney because he has found a pretty good balance with his top 12 forwards. The addition of Jarkko Immonen to play second-line center was a move that was perfectly timed. In fact, the slumping Matt Cullen who was moved from center to left wing on the second line, scored his first goal since early November in last night's game in Philly.

Darius Kasparaitis has looked good so far on the blueline and I expect him to continue to improve once he gets into better game shape. I would, however, like to see Sandis Ozolinsh moved at this point. He's too much of a liability defensively, so perhaps the Blueshirts can get a sixth or seventh round pick in exchange for him, which would also free up some cash.

Rangers are in Chicago tomorrow night, who recently signed future Hall-of-Famer, Peter Bondra.

The St. Louis Blues have reportedly fired Head Coach Mike Kitchen and replaced him with Andy Murray. Kitchen has been in an impossible situation and it pretty much was a foregone conclusion that he would be canned as soon as new ownership took over this past summer. The team stinks and I expect them to dump plenty of vets at the trading deadline in February.

Murray brings a wealth of experience having coached the L.A. Kings for seven seasons and also winning World Championships as Head Coach of Canada in 1997 and 2003. Still, the Blues have a ways to go, but it's a start.

Emotions ran high Tuesday night in Montreal when they hosted the Boston Bruins. Both teams were dealing with separate off-ice tragedies. The sellout crowd of 21,273 gave a standing ovation before the game in honor of Laura Gainey, who was lost at sea after being swept off a tall ship by a rogue wave. Meanwhile, the Bruins played without 19-year-old rookie Phil Kessel, who had cancer-related surgery Monday in Boston and is out indefinitely.

This is not the first time that Bob Gainey has dealt with a personal tragedy, his wife Cathy, died at the age of 39 from brain cancer in 1995.

Such sad news. I hope we all can keep in mind those who face such tragedies, not only at this time of year, but year round.

Stay Onsides!

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