NY Rangers to Have Five Alternate Captains

In a bit of an unusual move, the New York Rangers announced Wednesday that they will start the 2018-19 without a captain. Instead, they will have five alternate captains.

Marc Staal and Mats Zuccarello served as the two alternates alongside former captain Ryan McDonagh before his departure at the trade deadline last season. When alternate captain Rick Nash was traded, a handful of players took turns wearing the third ‘A.’

For the 2018-19 season, Staal and Zuccarello will keep the ‘A’ and Jesper Fast, Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider will have one as well.

Head coach David Quinn discussed it further after practice, as teams can have a captain and two alternates or three alternates. Staal will wear the ‘A’ for all 82 games this season. Kreider and Fast will wear the ‘A’ for road games and Zibanejad and Zuccarello will for home games.

While this isn’t the first time the Rangers have done this, I’m not sure if it’s the best move. It’s great for the development of these players and the team altogether, but sometimes you really need that captain voice — not five.






Senators’ Mike Hoffman Traded Twice Amid Fiancée Controversy

Forward Mike Hoffman found himself being traded twice on Tuesday, about a week after reports surfaced that his fiancée harassed teammate Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda online.

At first, the Ottawa Senators shipped Hoffman to San Jose and before being traded to the Florida Panthers just two hours later. Ottawa and San Jose exchanged defenseman prospects Cody Donaghey and Julius Bergman, in addition to fifth- and sixth-round 2020 draft picks respectively.

“Today’s trade showcases our determination to strengthen the future of the team by improving chemistry, leadership and character in the locker room and on the ice,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. “We are confident it is a step in the right direction for the long-term success of this organization.”

Then, Florida received Hoffman and a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft while San Jose acquired a fourth- and fifth-round pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019.

“Mike is a skilled, consistent and hard-working player who has proven himself to be a talented goal scorer in the NHL,” Panthers president and GM Dale Tallon said in a statement. “His speed, experience and offensive abilities will bolster our top-six group.”

Just last week, reports surfaced that Melinda Karlsson had filed an order of protection against Hoffman’s fiancée, Monika Caryk. Karlsson claimed the online harassment was more than 1,000 negative and derogatory statements. remarks about the death of their child, who was stillborn in March.

“Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead,” Melinda Karlsson said last week. “She also uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should ‘take out’ my husband’s legs to ‘end his career.’”

Hoffman made a statement denying everything, claiming there was a “150 percent chance that my fiancée Monika and I are not involved in any of the accusations that have been pursued.”

However, multiple wives of Senators players have taken to Twitter to come to the defense of Karlsson and backed up her claims.

“Her fixation with Mel has always been unhealthy,” Kodette LaBarbera, wife of former goaltender Jason LaBarbera tweeted. “Then it became scary. So glad Mel is protecting herself. No team will welcome this girl to the room.”

The Senators were quick to fix this controversy. However, trade rumors are revolving around Karlsson and it will be interesting to see whether or not this was the team showing a commitment to their captain.

Brendan Smith Settling in as a Ranger

Defenseman Brendan Smith had his debut as a New York Ranger on Thursday night in a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.

Overall, Smith played well and was pleased with his first game. In his postgame conference, head coach Alain Vigneault said he was also pleased with his new blueliner’s performance.

Smith was acquired Tuesday from Detroit in exchange for two draft picks. He was at Madison Square Garden for the Rangers’ game against Washington, practiced Wednesday with the team and participated Thursday in Boston. He had two blocked shots and one hit in 20:51 of ice time.

He said that although it’s a challenge to step into a new lineup with only one practice under his belt, his defensive partner Ryan McDonagh has helped him from the start.

“It is kind of tough to learn a system in a couple days,” Smith said Thursday after the game.”I think the big reason was [McDonagh] helped out so much. He’s a fantastic player. He was talking to me the whole time.”

Smith stated that there’s a few things he needs to fix in his game, but that he’s happy overall with his first outing and will build from it.

“He played a good game.” Vigneault said. “Coming in and playing against their top line, I thought he did a good job. The more he gets used to his new teammates, I’m sure the better he’s going to be.”

One aspect of being a Ranger that Smith stated he particularly enjoys is playing in front of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. As one of the best in the game, it is understandably different to play with Lundqvist rather than against him.

Assessing his new team as a whole, one thing that stood out to Smith is how fast New York plays. “I love the speed. You’ve got guys – and we’re even missing [Michael] Grabner who’s got lots of speed.”

“We can turn it on like that and I think our start wasn’t our best but we built from it and we got better,” Smith continued. “We found a way to get two points on the road. Sometimes it’s hard. That’s a good team but we found a way.”

With under 20 games left in the regular season, it’ll be fun to watch how the rest plays out.

Rangers Acquire Defenseman Brendan Smith From Detroit

In their only move before the trade deadline, the New York Rangers have acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit in exchange for two draft picks.

The trade includes the Rangers’ third round pick in this year’s Entry Draft and Ottawa’s second round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, which the Rangers acquired after sending Derrick Brassard to Ottawa in the offseason for Mika Zibanejad.

Yes, the Rangers have a habit of trading away important draft picks but in this case, this was a good move.

Smith has skated in 291 career NHL games over a span of six seasons, spending his career so far with Detroit after being drafted 27th overall in 2007. He signed a three-year entry level contract in May 2010 and made his NHL debut on November 17, 2011. He’s tallied 67 career points, 15 goals and 52 assists, along with 281 penalty minutes.

In the 2013-14 season, Smith notched career-highs in goals (five), assists (14) and points (19). As a member of the Red Wings, he has played in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, tallying six points (two goals and four assists) and a plus-one rating in 27 games.

This season, he has played in 33 games, registering two goals, three assists and 34 penalty minutes. He averages 18:44 of ice time, which was a career high and gave him the fourth rank among Detroit defensemen last season.

The Rangers have had various injuries on defense all season, so adding a veteran like Smith will only benefit the team overall. He could be one of the top defensive pairings and be a mentor for the younger players.

Smith will have some familiar faces on his new team. He played three seasons for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh and center Derek Stepan.



Evaluating the Brassard/Zibanejad Trade

Members of the Blueshirt Faithful were shocked this week when the Rangers made their first major trade of the offseason. Fan-favorite Derick Brassard was sent to the Senators for Mika Zibanejad.

The teams also exchanged picks in the 2018 NHL Draft, with New York getting a second-round pick and Ottawa receiving a seventh-round pick.

Brassard came to New York in a trade with Columbus in 2013. He has been well-liked by the fans and the media ever since. He was a top-six center that had 69 goals and 105, totaling 174 points, in 254 games over four seasons.

Zibanejad has skated in 281 games over five seasons, notching 64 goals and 87 assists for 151 points. With his 64 penalty minutes, he’ll fit right in with the Rangers’ style of play.

Like it or not Ranger fans, this was a good move by the team. Looking at statistics, Zibanejad is 23 and notched 51 points last season. Brassard tallied 58 but will turn 29 in late September. Zibanejad is six years younger with just seven points less than Brassard overall last season, which shows that he will only continue to improve over the years.

Brassard has three years left on his contract with a $5 million salary-cap charge whereas Zibanejad has one year remaining with a $2.625 million charge. Ironically, both players were drafted sixth overall by their respective teams, Brassard in the 2006 Draft and Zibanejad in 2011. Maybe that’s a sign for Ranger fans to expect a similar playmaker?

Money-wise, the move makes sense. Now we just have to wait and see if it all works out for Zibanejad and New York.