Rangers’ Del Zotto gets accustomed to playing right side


With Alain Vigneault taking over as the new coach, plenty of New York Rangers must make adjustments next season. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto told the New York Post on Monday that he’s fighting through some growing pains related to switching from a left to a right defensive spot.

“Every situation on the ice is different from one side to the other, where the blind side is, how you receive and protect the puck, the outlets that are available to you,” Del Zotto said. “It’s been a little bit difficult, but I feel more confident every day.”

In case you’re wondering, the 23-year-old is a left-handed shot.

On the bright side, Del Zotto said that having Marc Staal beside him significantly eases the adjustment, raving about how much ice the recovering blueliner can cover.

The Post notes that Del Zotto has essentially played his entire career on the left side, so this isn’t a minor change. Then again, some Rangers fans call him “Del Zaster,” so he can’t get much worse on the right side, right?


Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

Mike Richards
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When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”