View Full Version : Rangers (6-2-1) @ Columbus (3-3-0) GM#10

10-24-2008, 05:22 PM
The Rangers will try to get back on the winning track after the three day break tonight against Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Dan Fritsche will be in the lineup tonight as he is a hometown guy who will have friends and family there. Zherdev makes his return to Columbus as well.

Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman will be on defense for the Blue Jackets against their former team, the Rangers. Tyutin was a popular player with the fans when he was in NY.

Michael Peca is eligible to return to the lineup tonight after serving his suspension for bumping an official.

Hendrik Lundquvist goes against Pascal Leclaire tonight. They were 1 and 2 in shutouts last season, respectively.

I think its important for the Rangers to put one in the win column tonight, considering they play Pittsburgh tomorrow night.

10-24-2008, 05:25 PM
This past summer, the Rangers acquired a pair of talented, young forwards -- Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche -- from the Columbus Blue Jackets with the hope that both would help the club’s up-tempo, puck-possession game. Nine games into their collective tenure with the Rangers, Zherdev and Fritsche will lead the Blueshirts into action against their former club tonight at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Zherdev and Fritsche have much in common with one another, ranging from their popularity with their new Ranger teammates, to their swift and smooth skating abilities, to the fact that they were Columbus’ top two picks, respectively, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Rangers forward Dan Fritsche, an Ohio native who used to play for the Blue Jackets, is excited about the prospect of being in the lineup tonight in Columbus.
And, of course, they share the excitement that goes along with returning to Columbus for the first time since the Blue Jackets dealt the pair to the Rangers on July 2.

“I am really looking forward to it,” said Fritsche, an Ohio native, who still has an off-season home in Columbus. “I think no matter who you are, or where you are traded from, it’s fun to go back to where you were and play against the old team. It’s going to be really exciting.”

Added Zherdev, “It’s going to be good. I liked playing in Columbus, but I was not upset with the trade. Here I have a new team, new guys, to help me take my game to the next level.”

While the two 23-year-olds do share much in common, there has been one major difference between the two over the season’s first nine games. Zherdev has been a regular in head coach Tom Renney’s lineup, recording five points and posting a plus-5 rating, so far, while Fritsche has appeared in only two games to date, and has yet to pick up a point.

“He’s been a great teammate,” Renney said about Fritsche, who recorded 63 points in 206 games played with Columbus over four seasons. “Danny’s been a real professional as far as how things are going for him right now. And that’s important to the team because early in a season, these things happen, and you can’t suck the energy out of the team by complaining or getting upset.”

Renney made sure to point out that Fritsche, whom the head coach expects to be in the lineup tonight, played very well in his two outings this season, home wins against the Devils and Maple Leafs.

As for his part, Fritsche has been busy preparing himself for each and every opportunity that will come his way.

“Every player wants to play, that’s just the passion every player has,” said Fritsche. “When you are not in the lineup, I think you just have to push yourself even harder and work that much harder in practice. It’s also a long season, with so much more to go, and, hopefully, a few months from now I’ll be playing and I’ll look back and forget that this had even happened.”

As for Zherdev, who was second on the team in goals (26) and points (a career-high 61) with Columbus a year ago, Renney has been extremely pleased with his defensive play, as well as his well-documented offensive talents, and is trying to get Zherdev to put the whole package together.

“I think the big thing for Nikky and us is to continue to complete his all-around game,” noted Renney. “With that, we need to continue to invite those exceptional skills that he has, and to encourage him to shoot more, and be a little bit more selfish, because that is something he’s good at.”

While tonight will be an important game for Zherdev and Fritsche, it also will be for the entire Rangers squad, because the team has lost two games in a row (one in overtime) for the first time this season, while also dropping three of its last four matches entering play this evening.

After a grueling start to the season, which included an overseas trip to Europe and a seven-games-in-11-nights stretch upon returning home to North America, the Rangers have been off from game action the past three days. And while the club did practice two of those days, Renney gave his team a complete day away from the rink on Wednesday.

“It was real important to recharge and refocus for the next stretch,” said defenseman Wade Redden. “I also think we used the couple days of practice to work at some things we need to be better at to keep winning games.”

The Rangers will begin a stretch of three games in the next four days when they skate against the Blue Jackets tonight. Columbus is 3-3-0 to start the season, and they have won both of their home games, so far, most recently a 4-2 decision over the Canucks on Tuesday.

Star forward Rick Nash leads Columbus with four goals, including goals in each of the past three games. Jason Chimera also is riding a three-game goal-scoring streak entering play this evening for a Blue Jackets team that will welcome back veteran center Michael Peca into the lineup against the Rangers after he finished serving a five-game suspension for bumping an official on opening night.

The Blue Jackets’ lineup will also feature former Ranger defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman, who were both traded to Columbus this past summer for Zherdev and Fritsche. Tyutin has a pair of assists, but is a minus-four this season, while Backman has recorded a goal and two assists and is a minus-two.

“(Tyutin) is a good man, just a real good human being, and I think we all miss him,” Renney said of the popular ex-Ranger. “On top of that, he is a real good young defenseman in this league.”

Following the trip to Columbus, the Rangers get right back on an airplane and return to New York, where they will host the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night and then skate on Long Island against the Islanders on Monday.

“Any time you can get a couple days away from the rink and kind of get the focus back and get ready to go again, is good,” said winger Nigel Dawes. “We still have a lot of games ahead of us, starting with this three-in-four that is very important for us to get back on track.”

Link (http://rangers.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=Preview&seas=20082009&gtype=2&gnum=101)

10-24-2008, 09:43 PM
Nice to see Zherdev have a strong game vs his former team. Weird how Renney got injured on the bench. Sounds like he is OK.

10-25-2008, 01:01 PM
It was one of those freak things that happen every so often. Head coaches follow the puck and the play. Renney's attention was totally away from the guys at the bench. The way these sticks are made now; graphite, fiberglass, etc, it's good that it wasn't an old fashioned wooden stick. It could have been worse.

They were sloppy in the first period. The Rangers kind of got pushed back on their heels with Columbus's relentless forecheck, especially on the PK.