When asked about breaking Mike Richter’s franchise record with 302 wins for the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist called the feeling “surreal.” You could probably use similar terms to describe the game in which he claimed that record-breaking victory.
The Ottawa Senators went into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead and absolutely collapsed after that as the Rangers clobbered them in what ended up being an 8-4 win on Tuesday.
The Rangers are beginning to resemble the offensively robust group that head coach Alain Vigneault longed for earlier this season; even though they were shut out against San Jose, they’ve fired an impressive 80 shots on goal in their last two games. Many are labeling them as a dark horse candidate in the East, as they seem to be getting their act together and look pretty formidable on paper.
That doesn’t mean Vigneault is particularly happy with how this game played out (no shock as few coaches would be happy with a game that featured 12 goals).
This might be one of those burn-the-game-tape games for the winners, but things are getting downright grim for the Senators. They’ve lost four games in a row, six of their last seven and eight of 10 games. It’s basically been a disaster since the Olympic break ended and some are burying their chances already.
You don’t see such an inspired silverware (or plasticware?) analogy in sports everyday.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.