Tag: Steve Eminger

Mark Messier

Messier says Rangers need more depth


Mark Messier — the former Rangers great, now serving as an assistant to GM Glen Sather — shared his thoughts on the Blueshirts on Monday and if his words were any indication, there will be one key buzzword around New York this offseason:


“Moving forward, as you can see, teams that win the Stanley Cup get stronger as series move on,” Messier told the New York Post. “So for us this year the big thing is to add depth so we don’t have to use as many players as much as we did.

“The more depth you have, the less chance of wearing players down and having injuries.”

The Rangers’ depth — or, more accurately, their lack of it — is a big finding from the organization’s post-playoff autopsy. A laundry list of injuries were released following the loss to New Jersey (most notably, Marian Gaborik’s torn rotator cuff) and, in retrospect, the postseason minutes logged by certain guys does seem a little nuts.

New York essentially rolled with five defensemen through 20 games: Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto and Anton Stralman, who played decidedly less than the aforementioned four. Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger flipped back and forth in the No. 6 role, but neither played much.

Up front, scoring depth was a major concern. The Rangers got almost zero production from their bottom-six and it’s scary to think where they would’ve been without the surprising scoring punch from Chris Kreider, who tied for second on the team with five playoff goals. (He scored more goals than Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust, John Mitchell, Mike Rupp and Brandon Dubinsky combined.)

It’ll be interesting to see how Sather and Messier fix the depth issue in free agency. The Rangers project to have $21 million in cap space, though that figure depends on the upcoming CBA.

Rangers to undergo offseason filtration process

John Tortorella

On Saturday, John Tortorella praised the Rangers by saying “I love our jam, I love our balls.”

On Monday, he was less effusive.

“If you’re content that’s when you go by the wayside. We have to continue to improve as an organization,” he told reporters. “I think some guys get it, I think some guys don’t get it.

“We need to continue to filter.”

It was unclear what Tortorella meant with the “filter”, though I’d guess it’s the buy-in required to play Rangers hockey. Torts describes it as straight-ahead, direct, come-at-you hockey that emphasizes defensive responsibility, physicality and — yes — shot blocking.

Players that fit the bill include Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Callahan.

Players that don’t…might get filtered.

Players like Brandon Dubinsky, who spent a good chunk of the year mired in Torts’ doghouse and was floated in trade rumors. Or Artem Anisimov, who had a bad second half and saw his ice time decrease in the Eastern Conference finals (twice he got less than nine minutes.)

What about Michael Del Zotto? Even though he’s 21, gifted offensively and coming off a career-high 41 points, his time under Tortorella has been rocky. Getting benched in Game 4 of the New Jersey series was well-documented and his turnovers have earned him the “Del Zaster” nickname among some Blueshirt faithful.

(Del Zotto’s also an impending RFA. He says he has no idea what will happen with negotiations.)

Finally, a big filtration could come during free agency. Veterans Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust, John Mitchell, Anton Stralman, Steve Eminger and backup goalie Martin Biron are all scheduled to become UFAs on July 1.

Game 6: No lineup changes for Devils, Rangers may flip Eminger for Bickel

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils - Game Four

Heading into the first elimination game of the Eastern Conference finals, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers will ice near-identical lineups to the ones from last game.

For New Jersey, Game 6 will be a mirror image of Game 5:

Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Dainius Zubrus
Patrik Elias – Adam Henrique – Ilya Kovalchuk
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Jacob Josefson – David Clarkson
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier

Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Peter Harrold – Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

That means no Adam Larsson or Petr Skyora for the Devils, though those scratches weren’t surprising.

As for New York, it sounds as though Steve Eminger will draw in for Stu Bickel as the third-pairing defenseman (with Michael Del Zotto, presumably.) Eminger didn’t play in Game 5 but did see 14:24 of ice time in Game 4.

That leaves the Rangers lineup looking like this:

Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Chris Kreider
Brandon Dubinsky – Artem Anisimov – Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko – Derek Stepan – Marian Gaborik
Mike Rupp – Brian Boyle – Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi
Marc Staal – Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto – Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Game 5 lineup news: Dubinsky likely in, Devils make no changes

Brandon Dubinsky

With Game 5 dropping the puck tonight, the Rangers appear set to make one lineup change to try and swing things in their favor.

According to NHL.com’s Dave Lozo Brandon Dubinsky appears to be in for New York as he left this morning’s skate with the rest of the starters while centerman John Mitchell stayed behind to skate further with the usual scratches. Lozo also ruminates on the possibility that Stu Bickel returns to his spot on the blue line while Steve Eminger sits thanks to Brandon Prust’s return to action after his suspension.

Those moves would allow the Rangers penalty kill to return to normal with Prust back while also giving their offense a potential boost with Dubinsky in for Mitchell. Mitchell has been playing on the Rangers’ second power play unit and centering the fourth line.

Meanwhile, New Jersey’s lineup appears ready to stay the same for Game 5 according to Fire & Ice’s Tom Gulitti with Adam Larsson and Petr Sykora again taking a seat. Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson have taken their spots in New Jersey’s lineup and saw Josefson earn an assist, his first playoff point, in Game 4. Harrold replaced Larsson after Game 1 of the series and has played strong in his place.

Dubinsky officially out tonight; Bickel to play forward

Adam Henrique, Stu Bickel

Brandon Prust’s one-game suspension is putting the bite on Rangers coach John Tortorella to make changes to his starting lineup for tonight’s Game 4 against New Jersey. One guy we won’t see replacing Prust is Brandon Dubinsky.

Dubinsky is back practicing with the team but he told reporters after the team’s morning skate he won’t be in tonight’s lineup. When asked for a percentage of where he’s at physically, Dubinsky had a great one-liner.

“This team doesn’t do percentages…it’s yes or no and tonight is a no.”

All right then. John Tortorella was asked if Stu Bickel would be the guy to take Prust’s spot and Tortorella did his usual game day thing saying, “I don’t know what my lineup is today.” He also said he wouldn’t know what his lineup would be three weeks from now either. We’ll note that in case the Rangers make the Stanley Cup finals.

Bickel didn’t play in Game 3 as Steve Eminger got the call to play on defense. Expect Bickel to get the call tonight as a forward, however, as the Rangers don’t appear to have anyone else ready to go immediately. Mats Zuccarello is still coming back from a broken wrist and isn’t ready to play while AHL forwards like Kris Newbury haven’t practiced with the rest of the big squad.

Update (12:24 p.m. ET): Dan Rosen of NHL.com says Bickel is in.