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Where do you think the Rangers end up this year?

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Tuesday - October 19th

Per Elliot Friedman in his 32 thoughts column on Sporsnet, Gerard Gallant was the one that reached out to Vitali Kravtsov to ask him whether he would return. Certainly the Rangers could use some help in the top six right now with Ryan Strome in COVID protocol and Kaapo Kakko out in the short term.

Friedman says that Kravtsov doesn't really want to come back to New York, and that the Rangers price for a trade is high.

  MORE RUMORS...
 INJURY REPORT
Kaapo Kakko 10/16
Blocked a shot in the first period and did not return
 
Ryan Strome 10/15
Was placed in COVID protocol, and will not be available for the game against Montreal
 
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Question Of The Day

August 19th, 2021

Earlier this year the Rangers won by a margin of nine goals as they beat the Flyers 9-0. How many times has the margin been bigger?

Answer...
SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
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Read the submissions so far and see if you can come up with the best caption for today's photo

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2010-11 ~ 2009-10

  BIRTHDAYS

Zdeno Ciger - 1969

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  RANDOM RANGER

LAURI KORPIKOSKI
(2008-2009)
  Born: Jul 28 - 1986  
  Position: Left Wing  
  Games Played: 68  
  Goals: 6  
  Assists: 8  
  Points: 14  
  Penalty Minutes: 14  
 
Marian Gaborik came out in support of Crosby's call for eliminating head shots


Coming To A Head
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ 11:56:53 AM - September 9, 2011

Eliminate all head shots from the NHL.  Sounds like a worthy endeavor, and even something that can be achieved with relatively little effort given the number of concussions to some of the premier offensive players like Sidney Crosby, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Marc Savard among others.  But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Perhaps the best example in recent times is the instigator rule, added in 1992.  The rule was introduced to help protect players from being jumped by an opponent when they weren't prepared.  It didn't eliminate fighting altogether - it does still allow willing combatants to square off - but it has to some extent reduced the violence in the sport.

It also opened up a window of opportunity for the "agitator" role.  Typically an undersized forward who has no problem crossing the line, and in many cases contributing to the very problem that Sidney Crosby and other leading players are now coming out against.

Matt Cooke, Raffe Torres, Vaclav Varada, Darcy Tucker, Ryan Hollweg, Patrick Kaleta and even Sean Avery are all modern day examples of this role to a more or lesser degree.  Most are disliked by the majority of their opponents, but they have carved out a role in the NHL.

Ultimately it was the instigator rule that helped these players reach their prominence, and it's the lack of accountability that has enabled them to continue to wreak havoc in the league.

That's not to say the instigator rule couldn't have worked.  The issue is really in the enforcement of the existing rules, and the ability to pose increasingly stiffer penalties, than the relatively soft ones that are now in place.  Perhaps instead of giving a handful of games here and there, a player faced a 20 or 40 game suspension, then they might think twice about crossing the line.

Last year the league introduced the blind-side hit clause to the interference rule.  The goal was to prevent players from being hit when they weren't prepared for the contact.  The result this past season was a series of cases that ultimately cost Colin Campbell his job as the league's enforcer.  The task at hand - to evaluate comparatively whether a hit was good or not - was ultimately too subjective, and put the league on the defensive more often than not.

The issue is that there is no way to objectively measure what is legal and illegal.  All hits become judgement calls, and there will almost always be someone who has grounds for disagreeing with the call.  The media, internet pundits and, even the fans themselves have the capability of undermining the credibility of those in charge, simply by disagreeing - albeit vociferously.

The incoming league discipline committee, headed up by Brendan Shanahan, is only all to aware of these issues.  His changes to the process - including public explanations for why a penalty was or was not implemented - is intended to address some of these concerns, and yet there's a good chance it simply increases the level of critiquing.  Perhaps the only mitigating factor will be that Shanahan is likely to get a good deal more respect than his predecessor.

If the league is to embrace Crosby's call to eliminate head shots, then they'll be faced with the challenge of putting in a set of rules that can work in the majority of situations.  It'll then be up to the referees to enforce them.

How do you take into account the height difference between players for instance.  Would a player like Mats Zuccarello benefit, while the likes of Zdeno Chara and Brian Boyle suffer, in much the same way as Eric Lindros would get called for interference penalties when players ran into him and bounced off?

What about players who are falling, or leaning over, or for that matter incidental contact?  In the case of high sticking, a player can be called when their opponent skates into their stick, could a similar situation happen with head shots?

We're still at the discussion phase of this proposed rule change, and there's no guarantee anything will get done at this point.  With that said, it does appear only a matter of time before some form of adjustment is made - later if not sooner.

At that point we'll likely experience the same sort of uneven enforcement of the rules that is common when a new subjective judgement is added to the referee's responsibilities.  While I can respect the players' calls for eliminating head shots, I have to wonder whether it might be yet another step on the road to reducing the level of excitement of the game.



Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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October 18th, 2021
AIR CANADA CENTRE
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1 0 0 1 2
0 1 0 0 1
FIRST PERIOD: 1. NYR Zibanejad (unassisted) NYR 1-0    SECOND PERIOD: 2. TOR Bunting (Rielly,Tavares) Tied 1-1    OVERTIME: 3. NYR Panarin (Zibanejad) NYR 2-1   
Boxscore Game Thread
  HEADLINES
OCTOBER 19
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First goal of season a big one for Rangers winger
OCTOBER 18
Rangers snag two points in Toronto thanks to star's Herculean effort
Igor makes 40 saves, Panarin scores in OT as Rangers top Leafs
Facing Leafs a welcome change for Rangers
Rangers coach Gallant gives Rooney big thumbs up
Rangers projected lineup: Artemi Panarin finding his shot is key
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