New York Hockey: Steve Eminger

Eminger sent to Whale

February, 13, 2013
Rangers depth defenseman Steve Eminger was sent down to the team's AHL affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, for a conditioning stint, the team announced Wednesday after practice.

The 29-year-old Eminger has appeared in only four of the team's 12 games this season and has been a healthy scratch for six of the last seven. A conditioning stint in the AHL, which is limited to two weeks, allows Eminger to get into some games and stay fresh while waiting on his chance to return to the lineup.

Although Eminger played some of his best hockey last season before suffering a separated shoulder in December, he has been limited in his role with the team this year. Both Stu Bickel and Matt Gilroy have also been battling for a spot as the team's sixth defenseman.

Eminger agrees to terms

September, 10, 2012
The Rangers have agreed to terms with 28-year-old blue-liner Steve Eminger, the team announced in a press release Monday. The one-year deal is worth $750,000, a source told

Eminger has been a solid depth defenseman for the Blueshirts for the past two seasons, although his 2011-12 campaign was shortened by injury.

The former first-round pick (12th overall, 2002) had two goals and three assists and an even plus/minus rating in 42 regular-season games for the Rangers this past season. He also appeared in four playoff contests.

Eminger's signing comes one day after head coach John Tortorella painted a grim picture of the health of young defenseman Michael Sauer, who has not played since suffering a concussion December 5.
Injured forward Brandon Dubinsky made it through his first full practice with the Rangers Sunday since sustaining a right foot injury in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

And while his return could be one of seamless timing should he be ready to play Monday, when the Rangers will likely have a hole to fill assuming Brandon Prust earns a suspension for his hit on Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov on Game 3, he was cryptic when asked about his availability.

"I'm going to follow Torts' rules again," Dubinsky said. "No timeline."

It appears unlikely Dubinsky could play after only one full practice, even in the wake of the team's pressing lineup needs. The Rangers will probably opt instead to use either defenseman Stu Bickel or Steve Eminger as a forward, as they have done in the past.

Regardless, Dubinsky seemed encouraged by his progress and said he's happy to be around the team again as they prepare for Game 4 against the Devils.

"It's nice to be back with the guys, nice to shoot some pucks against a goalie, and it just feels good to be around and get the chance to jump back on the ice."

Rangers eager for '24/7' premiere

December, 14, 2011
Across the NHL community and beyond, remotes will be programmed to Wednesday night's season premiere of HBO's "24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic," and the Rangers will be among the curious viewers tuning in at 10 p.m.

"It'll be cool to see," said Michael Del Zotto. "The last couple of games they probably got some good footage, so it will be nice to see what they do."

Del Zotto said he and fellow defenseman Steve Eminger have a "cute little date" planned to watch the first episode with the team staying at a hotel in St. Louis.

"We'll have some popcorn and cuddle together," Del Zotto joked.

Wednesday's debut will be the first of a four-episode run that chronicles the two teams in the weeks leading up to the 2012 Winter Classic game.

For the past two weeks, crews have descended to document a behind-the-scene look at each club, shooting everything from dressing room jousting, game-day preparations and on-ice antics.

"I think it's going to be fun to see because most fans don't get to see the other side of some of the players here," said Del Zotto, who predicts defenseman Dan Girardi will be the breakout star.

Although many assume Girardi is quiet or understated, his trademark dry, quick wit was captured in his deadpan delivery during the show's 12-minute teaser that ran earlier this month.

"I think he's the first star for sure," Del Zotto said, adding that fans will likely be enamored with Russian-born Artem Anisimov as well. "[Anisimov] will be the biggest surprise, but I think [Girardi] gets the Broadway hat for the HBO."

In all likelihood, coach John Tortorella will be the character most viewers are looking forward to see. The fiery coach, known for his colorful personality and sometimes profane outbursts, also has the potential to steal the show.

He hasn't exactly warmed to the cameras, however.

"It's a pain in the ass, no question. I can't stand it," Tortorella said earlier this week. "They're good guys, I just don’t want people in our locker room, but I know we have to do it. It hasn't affected how we go about our business. I just don't agree with it."

For the most part, players have found the cameras unobtrusive. Those that have been outfitted with microphones during the games have given it little thought, which makes an uncensored look into the on-ice banter even more appealing.

"I know I do a lot of swearing during the game, but I know they can edit that stuff," said Brandon Prust, who was mic'd during the game he fought Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo four seconds into play. "And I lost the puck a few times that game, so I know I was cursing then."

Del Zotto was also mic'd against Toronto when he took a nasty spill into the end-boards to touch up an icing. Although he did not miss a shift, he was slow to get up and appeared to be in pain.

"I was thinking about it when I got hit, too," he said. "Trying to catch my breath out there and I was dying, so I'm sure that will be good footage for them."

Regardless of what makes it to air and what is scrapped on the cutting room floor, one thing is certain.

Said Tortorella:

"It’s probably going to be one hell of a show when it's all said and done."

Training camp preview: New York Rangers

September, 15, 2011
The New York Rangers, who open camp Friday, made a hasty exit from the playoffs last season, losing in five games to the Washington Capitals. They hope some key offseason signings will help them become Stanley Cup contenders this year.

Main storylines

1. Spotlight on Richards: The Rangers were big winners in July when they lured coveted free agent Brad Richards to New York with a nine-year, $60 million deal. The addition of Richards gives them the dynamic first-line center they lacked last season -- someone who can be counted on to produce offensively and distribute the puck.

2. More from Gaborik: The team also hopes Richards can coax the most out of sniper Marian Gaborik, who is expected to flank him on the right wing. After a career season in 2009-10 -- 42 goals and 86 points -- the 29-year-old winger scored only 22 goals last season and was incredibly streaky. Ten of his goals were scored in three games, all against non-playoff teams. If the Rangers want to do damage in the playoffs, they need him to score -- when it counts.

3. Third defensive pairing: Defense was a strength for the Rangers last season, and given the youth on the back end, it will be for years to come. Top-pair defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were counted on to match up against opponents' top lines all year, and they had a tandem of solid young blue-liners behind them in Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer. Young defensemen Tim Erixon, Michael Del Zotto and 27-year-old Steve Eminger will battle for the fifth and sixth spots. Brendan Bell could also garner a look, although he will likely be used as a call-up guy from Hartford.

New additions

C Brad Richards: The 31-year-old veteran will feel the burden of the monster contract he signed and the expectation that goes with it, but he's a proven scoring threat with a Stanley Cup championship on his résumé.

LW Mike Rupp: the 6-5, 230 pound bruiser, who racked up 124 penalty minutes with Pittsburgh last season, will add size and toughness to the Rangers' fourth line. The 31-year-old former Devil will also be a high-character veteran presence in the room.

D Tim Erixon: The Rangers traded for the 20-year-old Swedish defenseman in June in what might soon be regarded as a steal. As the son of former NHL'er Jan Erixon, Tim has a strong hockey IQ and the potential to be effective on the power play.

Wild card

Ryan Bourque, son of NHL legend Ray Bourque, is likely to start the season with the team's AHL affiliate in Hartford, but the 20-year-old forward stood out among his peers and impressed many during a recent prospect tournament in Traverse City, Mich.

Bottom line

By developing a strong group of young players and adding key free agents to complement that core, the Rangers have the talent and skill to be dangerous in the future. What remains to be seen is whether they can make the next stop now.

Eminger looking forward to fresh start

July, 26, 2011
There were plenty of games last season in which the Rangers did not dress Steve Eminger, but that didn’t matter to the defenseman. His new one-year deal with the team is proof.

“Going into this season, it’s going to be a fresh start,” Eminger said. “I’ve been training well and had a good summer and hopefully that leads into training camp and the season. I’m not looking to sit out games and be scratched. Nobody wants to be in that situation. I’ll play as hard as I can and be competitive and we’re going to challenge each other on the defense, which will be good for the hockey club.”

Eminger is excited to be back with the Rangers after re-upping with the team on a one-year deal Wednesday. Eminger played his first season with the Rangers last year after being acquired in a trade with Anaheim on July 9, 2010 and scored two goals and four assists in 65 games.

“I had a great experience with the group of guys and the organization,” Eminger said. “I liked where the team was headed last year and it was a pretty successful year and we’re only going to get better for next year. All those things made me want to come back.”

While Eminger had stretches late in the season where he did not dress, including the five games in the playoffs, the 27-year-old said he was happy with his season last year. While he was disappointed when he sat out, he thought there was a stretch in the middle of the season when he thought he was playing the best hockey of his career. He’s hoping that he can get back to that level this upcoming season.

The Rangers have not informed Eminger what his role will be on the team this season, but it’s likely that he will be competing for one of the two spots on the Rangers third defensive line, possibly competing against third-year player Michael Del Zotto and touted prospect Tim Erixon. He’s looking forward to the competition.

“(Rangers coach) John Tortorella is pretty fair,” Eminger said. “It doesn’t matter if you are undrafted or a first-round pick, I think his whole philosophy is who comes to camp and is ready and prepared. He gives a fair opportunity to everyone.”

As he prepares for the upcoming season, Eminger has been splitting time between Philadelphia and Kitchener, Ontario, working out and spending plenty of time on the track. Eminger said he’s been running more this offseason.

He likes the way the Rangers roster is shaping up for next season.

“I felt we had a heck of a team last year and being pretty young, I definitely thought we built that identity throughout the league,” Eminger said. “It was relentless play and we played to the end. I think myself and the whole team is ready to get things started.”

Rangers re-sign Steve Eminger

July, 25, 2011
In a move to keep a veteran in their defense, the Rangers have re-signed defenseman Steve Eminger, the team announced Monday.

Eminger, 27, came to New York on July 9, 2010 in a trade with Anaheim. Last season, Eminger scored two goals and four assists in 65 games, but had stretches toward the end of the season where he did not dress for games. Eminger did not dress for the season finale and did not play in the playoffs for the Blueshirts.

Eminger will play on the Rangers' third defensive line next year, but will have some competition from some youngsters. Third-year player Michael Del Zotto and touted prospect Tim Erixon both could be playing with the Rangers next season, which could mean Eminger could be in and out of the lineup as he was last season.

Eminger has played in 411 career games since joining the NHL in 2002-03 with Washington. He has scored 17 goals and 74 assists while accumulating 323 penalty minutes in his career. He has also played with Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida and Anaheim in his career. Eminger is a native of Woodbridge, Ontario.

With the Rangers defense likely set, the Rangers will now turn their attention back to their offense as forward Ryan Callahan is scheduled to have his arbitration hearing Thursday.
According to Andrew Gross of The Record, rookies Mats Zuccarello and Matt Gilroy will get the call tonight, while veterans Sean Avery and Steve Eminger will be healthy scratches in Game 1. With Zuccarello and Gilroy in the rotation for tonight, the Rangers would likely play seven playoff rookies tonight during the game, with only backup goalie Chad Johnson not likely to see playing time.

Aside from the experience factor, these moves shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. Avery had been a healthy scratch as of late and Eminger has been inconsistent with his playing time. Then again, these moves might just for one game only. If the pair of rookies struggle tonight, coach John Tortorella could call upon the veterans in Game 2.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators

March, 24, 2011
The red-hot Rangers try to keep their hot streak going tonight against the last-place Ottawa Senators. Here are some things to watch for in tonight’s contest.

STAAL RETURNS: As previously reported here, defenseman Marc Staal will make his return to the lineup after missing the two previous games with an undisclosed injury. Matt Gilroy will be a healthy scratch and Steve Eminger will get ice time. Sean Avery will be the other healthy scratch.

“(Eminger) has played well,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “Gilly hasn’t been real bad, but I just like the way Emmy’s played underneath the hashmarks and his physical play.”

HOTNESS: The Rangers look to keep alive their longest winning streak of the season against the Senators tonight. The Blue Shirts have won five games in a row and are peaking at the right point of the season with the playoffs right around the corner. With each additional win, the Rangers move closer and closer toward securing a playoff berth.

As well as the team has played recently, goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been just as hot. The goalie is now 7-1 with a 1.98 goals against average and .932 save percentage. He’s also recorded two shutouts. In his career, Lundqvist is 10-11 with a 1.98 goals against average versus the Senators.

THE YOUNG ONES: Keep an eye on the line of Wojtek Wolski, Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello. While that combination of players has just one goal in the past six games, Tortorealla thnks they are on the cusp of breaking out.

“They’ve been OK. They’re close. Wolly has really worked on his board play, I thought he made some really goods plays last game as far as protecting pucks and things we are asking him to do offensively,” Tortorella said. “We talked about that today. They’re close, they haven’t produced a lot there, they have done some other good things, hopefully we’ll get some goals out of them.”

For Rangers, final auditions

September, 30, 2010
As John Tortorella mulls the final cuts of Rangers training camp, reportedly coming after Saturday’s game, his players gave him plenty to think about after a 5-1 smackdown of the Red Wings at MSG last night.

The line of Ruslan Fedotenko, Derek Stepan and Sean Avery earned the game’s first, second and third stars, while combining for two goals, three assists and each finishing with a plus-two rating. Stepan could have added a second goal to his night had he been able to covert after a shifty drive to the goal mouth in the mid-second period.

Box Score

Fedotenko and Stepan certainly made solid strides towards securing the final open spots on the Rangers’ opening day roster. In all likelihood, the Rangers will cut two more forwards and two defensemen to reach the roster limit of 23 players.

On the blue line, Pavel Valentenko and Mike Sauer also looked strong – though the Red Wings did not dress any of their premier stars, with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom all sitting out. Sauer scored a 4-on-4 goal late in the third period on a behind-the-back pass from Erik Christensen. Valentenko asserted himself physically all game long and returned to action after breaking his nose in the first period, according to the Post’s Larry Brooks.

Also from the Post write-up, waivers may play a role in which D-man is kept and which are demoted. Sauer and Steve Eminger (a healthy scratch last night) must pass through waivers to reach the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. Valentenko and Ryan McDonagh (another scratch) would not be subjected to waivers.

One of the team’s top prospects, McDonagh needs to get ice time wherever he lands. That likely means he’ll need crack the Rangers’ top four in order to stick in New York.

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