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Point Shots: Rangers Streak At 3, Plus Sundin

Posted By Dan Rakusan On Dec 18 2008 @ 3:38 pm In New York Rangers | No Comments

The New York Rangers haven't exactly been rolling over people lately, but a win is a win is a win.  Two points, whether earned in regulation, overtime or a shootout, are still two points at the end of the day, and the Rangers will take those points any way they can.

Last night, they faced off against an energetic Los Angeles Kings squad, who played them tight, but managed to walk away with the deuce on the strength of Michal Rozsival's two-goal performance.  It was his third multi-goal game of his career.

Rozy notched his first of the game on a penalty shot that was awarded when young stud defenceman Drew Doughty tried to clear part of Jarett Stoll's broken stick out of the Kings' zone.  To quote the lovable comedian John Pinnette, the referees said “Nay Nay” and Rozsival found himself at center ice, preparing for his breakaway attempt against Jason Labarbera.

“I thought that a penalty was going to be called, which would have given us a 5-on-3. But I had no idea it was going to be a penalty shot,” Rozsival said. “It happened so quick. I'm not used to this. I made up my mind that I was going to go in on a direct line and go to the backhand. A penalty shot doesn't happen every day, especially for a defenseman.”

Rozy beat Labarbera with a backhander to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.  Chris Drury had recorded the first goal for the Blueshirts.  Drury now has goals in consecutive games after an 11 game drought.  Rozsival's second goal was the clincher, a 45 foot one-time blast from the point that beat Labarbera up high.  3-2 Final.

In goal, Rangers' backup Steve Valiquette was solid, making 39 saves in his sixth start of the season.  Valiquette was originally drafted by the Kings in 1996, but never appeared in a game with the team.  He made his NHL debut in 1999-2000 with the Islanders, who had signed him as an unrestricted free agent in 1998.

“I was really looking forward to this game because I was drafted by the Kings. So at the beginning of the season when I saw the schedule come out, I really hoped to play in this game,” Valiquette said. “I had a really good time in juniors, but they just never came to watch me — so there was always motivation since then to play against L.A.”

Valiquette is establishing himself as a solid backup to starter Henrik Lundqvist, and is a team player through and through.

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Sundin.  The biggest non-story of the NHL's past 6 months.  Here's a guy who put up 76 points in 74 games with the Leafs last season, and then walked away (at least temporarily) from hockey.

The latest chatter about the Swedish Meatball is that he's narrowed his options down to two teams:  Canucks or Rangers.

The Canucks have a standing offer of $10M per season for two seasons on the table, while the Rangers need to maneuver around the cap before even making a formal offer.  The latest speculation has the Rangers' offer targeted at $6M per season.  All numbers will be pro-rated for the balance of this season.

For the Rangers to get the cap space, they'll have to move some current roster players.  Suggested names include Petr Prucha, Dan Fritsche and Dmitri Kalinin.  In the event of a trade, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez have been tied to the Sundin Sweepstakes.

My opinion is that it's not worth it in either case, unless Prucha, Fritsche and Kalinin all agree to be re-assigned to the AHL or perhaps loaned out to a European team.  While Sundin might provide more offence than those three combined, provided he doesn't get injured early on in his comeback, he has stated he only wants to play this season, not the next.  So, why part with assets who are going to be around longer for a guy who at this stage is a short-term rental?

I'm still hoping he opts for retirement or Vancouver…

I'd be interested to see what people think the Rangers could do to get Mats under the cap…  Please post your suggestions in the comments area!

Sidenote:  I was originally going to name this blog “On The Rags”, but Sean Avery kind of ruined that for me…  Oh well, hopefully he returns to the only place he seemed to fit in, Broadway!

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