Cross Checks: Michael Del Zotto

Without a pick in either of the first two rounds of Sunday's 2013 NHL draft, the Rangers may be in store for a pretty quiet day.

Even with some marquee names bandied about as trade talk intensifies -- Tyler Seguin, Kris Letang, Jeff Skinner -- the Rangers lack the salary cap space to make a major splash on the draft day floor.

With the announcement that the team will not exercise its one existing compliance buyout this summer (granting struggling center Brad Richards a one-year reprieve, at least), the Rangers have very little room to maneuver.

Team president and general manager Glen Sather could try and package some of his three third-round picks (the Rangers gave up a first-rounder in the trade for Rick Nash, a second-rounder in the acquisition of Ryane Clowe) to move up in the order, but a significant trade seems highly unlikely.

Richards' cap charge of $6.67 million, and the status of restricted free agents Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, seems to squash any hope of a significant upgrade from last year’s personnel.

As speculated at season’s end, it is possible the Rangers could dangle promising young defenseman Michael Del Zotto as trade bait, though the concern is being able to find a capable defenseman to replace him at the right price.

Instead, expect the team to look into adding a depth defenseman to round out the team’s blue line via free agency.

The team’s inactivity will likely carry over into the free agency period as well, when the market opens on July 5.
Though the Rangers are interested in adding depth down the middle (Matt Hendricks is an enticing option as a pending unrestricted free agent) and still desperately need a right-handed defenseman who can man the power play (Letang, anyone?) they will likely move forward with the same group that made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals this spring.

There were plenty of fireworks once the Rangers made a hasty exit from the second round as the team dismissed polarizing coach John Tortorella and replaced him with the affable, gentlemanly Alain Vigneault, but, save for the critical contract negotiations for franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, there is unlikely to be much by way of headlines for the rest of this summer.

Sather’s not shy about big-game hunting, of course, but with the salary cap’s significant reduction and the Rangers’ money already tied up in players like Richards, Lundqvist and Rick Nash, expect the next few weeks to be pretty anticlimactic.
Although there was optimism that Rick Nash would re-join the Rangers on the back end of their two-game swing through Canada, the injured forward will not meet the team in Montreal

Nash, who is out with an undisclosed injury, will miss his third straight game when the team faces the Canadiens Saturday night.

The Rangers have been decidedly tight-lipped about Nash's injury -- refusing to divulge any details whatsoever -- but it is believed to have stemmed from a hit sustained last week in a game against the Boston Bruins.

Nash hit his head hard against the glass after he was driven into the boards by Bruins forward Milan Lucic on Feb. 12.

Though he played after taking the hit -- Feb. 14 vs. the Islanders and Sunday vs. the Caps -- he has since been sidelined.

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto's status for Saturday's match is also questionable. The 22-year-old was forced from the game in the third period of the team's 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. The team has not released an update on Del Zotto, though they did recall defenseman Steve Eminger on Friday.

Morning jam: Stat highlights from Tuesday

January, 30, 2013
Sharks 3, Ducks 2 (F/SO)

* Patrick Marleau (SJ): held without goal for 1st time this season; recorded 1 assist, tied with teammate Joe Thornton for NHL lead with 14 points
* Sharks: won 1st 6 games, best start in franchise history; tied with Blackhawks for best record in NHL
* Logan Couture (SJ): game-tying goal (4) with 2:45 left in 3rd period
* Ducks: overtime loss snaps 3-game winning streak at San Jose

Bruins 2, Devils 1 (F/SO)
* Bruins: 11 points (5-0-1) in 1st 6 games; best start since 1970-71 (started 5-0-1)
* Nathan Horton (BOS): Goal (3); 4-game point streak (3 goals, 2 assists)
* Devils: winless in 9 of last 10 vs Bruins (1-6-3 record)
* David Clarkson (NJ): PP goal (4) in 2nd period; scored goal in 4 of 5 games this season
* FROM ELIAS: 2nd time this season that Nathan Horton had game-tying goal in final five minutes of 3rd period; only had 3 such goals in previous 8 NHL seasons

Rangers 2, Flyers 1
* Rangers: won 3 of 4 overall, won 5 straight home games vs Flyers
* Michael Del Zotto (NYR): had goal and assist; 2nd straight game with a goal and an assist
* Rick Nash (NYR): assist; has scored a point in 5 of 6 games this season
* Rangers: won 40 of 61 faceoffs (66%)
* FROM ELIAS: 18th multi-point game for Michael Del Zotto, 16 have come in New York metro area (13 at Madison Square Garden, 2 at New Jersey, 1 at Islanders)

Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3 (OT)
* Maple Leafs: snap 2-game losing streak (allowed 12 goals in 2 losses)
* Matt Frattin (TOR): 2 goals (3), including game-winner with 1.5 seconds left in overtime
* Sabres: winless in last 4 games (0-3-1) after 2-0-0 start
* Mikhail Grigorenko (BUF): 1st NHL goal to tie game at 7:10 of 3rd period
* FROM ELIAS: Matt Frattin’s OT goal was latest regular-season OT goal by Maples Leafs since NHL introduced 5-minute extra period in 1983

Red Wings 4, Stars 1
* Valtteri Filppula (DET): 2 goals; had only 2 goals in previous 22 games vs Stars
* Jimmy Howard (DET): 25 saves (2+ goals allowed in each of 1st 5 games this season)
* Stars: 0-5 on power plays (1-15 on PP on road this season)
* Stars: 0-3-1 in last 4 games

Islanders 4, Penguins 1
* Penguins have lost 2 straight at home to Islanders (had won 13 straight prior to that)
* Evgeni Nabokov (NYI): 37 saves; 3-0-1 in last 4 starts
* Matt Moulson (NYI): goal and an assist; 2nd straight game with a goal and an assist
* Sidney Crosby (PIT): assist, 4 shots; has scored at least 1 point in 4 of last 5 games

Lightning 5, Panthers 2
* Lightning: 4 players with a goal and an assist each (Cory Conacher, Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell & Vincent Lecavalier)
* Steven Stamkos (TB): PP goal (4) in 1st period
* Lightning: 4-0-0 at home this season; on 4-game winning streak overall
* Panthers: lost 5 straight games (all in regulation) since season-opening win vs Hurricanes, averaging 1.0 goals per game during losing streak

Senators 3, Capitals 2
* Senators: won 7 of last 9 at home vs Capitals
* Senators: outscored Senators 3-0 over final 2 periods after trailing 2-0; have outscored opponents 16-5 in 2nd and 3rd periods this season (outscored 6-3 in 1st period)
* Sergei Gonchar (OTT): PP goal (1) with 2:30 left in regulation; 32nd career GW goal (FROM ELIAS: most GW goal among active defensemen)

Canadiens 4, Jets 3
* Tomas Plekanec (MTL): game-winning PPG (3) 5:31 into 3rd period; goals in 3 of last 3 games
* Brendan Gallagher (MTL): goal (2), assist; scored point in 3 of 4 games this season
* Canadiens: won 4 straight games since season-opening loss to Maple Leafs
* Jets: loss snaps 3-game winning streak

Wild 3, Blue Jackets 2
* Mikko Koivu (MIN): Goal (2); goals in back-to-back games
* Blue Jackets: 1 win in last 6 games
* Jack Johnson (CBJ): PP goal (1); 1st PP goal since Jan. 23, 2012
* FROM ELIAS: Pierre-Marc Bouchard is 4th player with 100+ goals for Wild

Morning Links: Day 44 of lockout

October, 29, 2012
We are a little late, but it's still morning somewhere.

  • Jack Johnson posted a passionate blog about the lockout expressing his desire to play hockey, his limited opportunity to do his job and his disappointment that owners are trying to dismantle existing contracts – all on a site linked off of (USA Today)
  • Ken Dryden said both sides are to blame if the NHL loses the entire season to labor negotiations. “They have to understand this is not make-or-break. … This is not survival – real or imagined – on either side of it. Both are doing well enough. … And after you’ve lost one season in 2004, you can’t lose another without it being a defeat for both sides, a failure for both sides.” (Calgary Sun)
  • Blackhawks players believe the NHL’s canceling of November’s games was just a scare tactic. “If there’s a deal reached tomorrow, they can un-cancel those games, so I don’t think it really means too much,” said Patrick Kane. Jonathan Toews added,” It’s been proven over time they’re on a timeline and they’re waiting to see how much they can squeeze us for.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Roberto Luongo refused to speculate about where he will be playing next season when talking to the media at a World Series of Poker circuit event, but said he never game the Canucks a list of teams he was willing to be traded too, they simply spoke about certain teams. (Vancouver Sun)
  • With plenty of time on their hands during the lockout, Rangers teammates Brad Richards, Henrik Lundqvist, Brian Boyle and Michael Del Zotto did a fashion spread in Esquire magazine. (Esquire)
  • Brian Gionta didn’t believe the NHL was serious about saving an 82-game season with its last proposal. “If they really wanted to save 82 games, they should have started the process back in August or September or, at the very least, been willing to hash things out between the [players’] offers. To recess for 10 minutes then come back and say, ‘No, on all accounts,’ then say, ‘We have nothing new to say,’ and then sit for a week, it seems kind of like a scare tactic or posturing on their side.” (Montreal Gazette)
  • Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov injured his ribs in a collision at the boards and may be returning to Montreal. (Montreal Gazette)
  • Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback will play in Finland for Ilves Tampere for the duration of the lockout, according to his agent. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • The Jets’ Blake Wheeler signed with EHC Red Bull Munchen of the German Elite League and is expected to join the team this week. (Winnipeg Free Press)