Oh baby, sunrise in SoCal. Shimmer of orange lining the mountains. Rangers remain in 7th place this morning as Sabres lose, but have two games in hand.
Ducks and Rangers skate in a few hours, so swing by for dispatches/updates from Honda. Rangers are scheduled to stay here overnight post-game, practice Thursday and then fly to San Jose for Saturday's game.
Here's my piece in Newsday on the adjustment of Bryan McCabe....
After 15 years in the league, Bryan McCabe is adapting again. To not being a top four defenseman. To a different defensive system and power play. To new teammates. To being back in New York, where he began his career as an Islander.
“It’s an adjustment period for him,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella after practice at the Honda Center on Tuesday as the Blueshirts, who have won two straight games, prepared for tonight’s match against the Ducks, the first on this week-long trip. “I think he’s fit in,” said Tortorella. “I watch him off the ice, just the intangibles, just in hanging around the last couple of days in LaQuinta. He’s a gamer; I think his personality is good for our team.”
McCabe, 35, captained the Panthers for the last two seasons and was a top two defenseman, and although the veteran is a key on the Rangers re-engineered power play, he is playing with Matt Gilroy on the third defense pairing and seeing less ice time, just 16:22 against Ottawa on Friday and 13:18 against the Flyers on Sunday.
“We feel our top four are our top four and it’s a little bit of a different role for Bryan,” said Tortorella, referring to Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer. “We’re going to go with our young guys. He and I talked a bit about that that today. I thought (Sunday) was his best game for us as far as the power play and patience and being involved on the bench. As far as his understanding our defensive system, that’s a work in progress.”
The Rangers employ a 1-3-1 power play, which is different than the Panthers, who traded McCabe on Feb. 28. “You’ve got more options,” said McCabe who has two assists in five games and had been on ice for 53 percent of the Rangers goals in five games. “It’s been an easy transition. We’ve got some very skilled guys and my job is to get the puck on net.”
Tortorella said that McCabe’s willingness to shoot is critical, but his vision and “subtle plays” have been valuable as well.
“Like one we showed on the tape today,” said Tortorella. “His skates being outside the blue line to give him that much more room to make little shovel plays. Those are things our young d can see and learn from him….I watched him play in Toronto, and the way their power play was, (Tomas) Kaberle would feed him. And it was all shots. He’s impressed me because he has really good vision and command, and he has the right type of arrogance, in the middle of the ice there.”
McCabe, who will be a free agent this summer, has been in playoff hunts for three of the last four years, relishes the opportunity. “It’s what you play for,” he said. “And it’s home to me, I spend summers here. It’s one reason I was drawn to the Rangers, there’s a lot of roots. Next year? I can’t think about that. We need every point we can get.”
The Chara rub-out of Pacioretty? If I were king of discipline, two-three games. Unfortunate location.