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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Dubinsky doesn't think Staal intended hit

By Mike Hume



Not much from the fast-emptying Ranger locker room Tuesday night and not much reaction to Jordan Staal's mug shot to Brandon Prust either.

Big bro Marc Staal said he missed the punch and didn't want to comment until he had seen it.

"I don't know him, but I respect the Staal family," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said when asked if he was surprised by Jordan's retaliation. "I think you could tell when it happened, at least I thought so, that he knew he had made a mistake."

"It's tough, obviously that's an inexcusable play," Brandon Dubinsky said. "I don't think he intended what happened. But you do something, there's consequences."

Some quick context for the end of Dubinsky's quote. I believe he was referring to the ensuing penalty rather than insinuating there will be future consequences from the Rangers. I wouldn't expect this to endure at all. After the game, Marc and Jordan were chatting amicably, as you'd expect, in the player tunnel.

On playing against Jordan after skating alongside his brother Eric at the All-Star game, Marc said: "Obviously it's a little more competitive today. I had a lot of fun playing with Eric. It's always the same against those guys. We're all competitive and it's always a lot of fun."

Here's To Your Health
Both Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan said they felt good after tonight's game and didn't feel too rusty after missing time with injuries.

"The first period I was just trying to get my legs under me," said Callahan, who seemed to prove he was back at full speed with his game-tying PP goal. "[In the first] there were a few rough plays along the wall and the puck was bouncing on me. After I scored it settled me down a little bit and I thought there were a few other good shifts in the second when we were cycling. That's my game. Once we started doing that I started feeling confident and started playing well."

"A little nervous, a little jittery," Dubinsky said when describing his first few shifts tonight. "My legs were a lot better than I anticipated they would be. Hopefully it will be right back into the flow of things."

Dubinsky said his leg felt pretty good when he woke up this morning, despite pushing it for an hour and 45 minutes at practice Monday, about an hour more work than usual. That's when he knew he'd be good to go Tuesday night.

As Tortorella noted in the presser, he wasn't bashful about sending either player over the boards. Dubinsky led all Ranger forwards with 23:10 of ice time tonight, his third-highest total of the season. Callahan wasn't far behind with 21:07.

The Big Picture
As Tortorella pointed out, Callahan's goal gave the Rangers a big point tonight, particularly with the Hurricanes and Thrashers both losing. The Blueshirts are now just two points back of the Washington Capitals for the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Overall, Tortorella felt pretty good about the way his team played, especially the chances the Rangers generated in the third period against a defense he considers to be among the NHL's best. The stats certainly back that up -- the Pens are No. 2 in goals allowed per game this season. Offensively, Pittsburgh lacked its two top fowards and lost another when Staal got tossed. Still, the Rangers did a good job in their own end.

"We held them to six scoring chances throughout the game," Tortorella. "Where we struggled through most of the game was trying to contain their transition. But I thought we defended well."

The power play remains a point of concern however.

"Our power play stunk, it was ridiculous, so we had to change it," Tortorella said, noting he liked the combination of Callahan, Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, with Mats Zuccarello at the point -- a lineup he employed later in the game. "It's a little risk/reward there, but I thought [Zuccarello] did a pretty good job setting up some plays. We've really struggled at gaining the middle of the ice and getting our shots through."