Rangers Training Camp Roundup – Andrew Desjardins, Roster Cuts and Rule Changes
With the Rangers preseason finished, the team has a lot to do in the coming days. There are roster cuts to be made, line combinations to figure out and a whole lot more. So let’s jump right in.
Andrew Desjardins – The Rangers brought in former Stanley Cup Winner Andrew Desjardins into camp on a professional tryout contract and did not do enough to make the squad. Forget the fact that he plays a grinding brand of hockey, which is needed but not preferred in AV’s up-tempo system, he was suspended for a questionable hit on Miles Wood of the Devils. Even if Desjardins would have been a frontrunner to make this team, it would have been in a likely fourth line role; so losing him now shouldn’t be a big deal.
Roster Cuts – The Rangers announced on Wednesday that they have sent forward Gabriel Fontaine and goaltender Brandon Halverson to Hartford of the American Hockey League. Halverson’s “demotion” isn’t surprising, considering the King has a former starting goalie in Ondrej Pavelec as his understudy this season. The Traverse City, Michigan native allowed one goal on sixteen shots in his combined 20:46 time in the crease.
As for Fontaine, he also had a solid camp and was one of those possible 13th forward kind of players. He showed a lot of determination against the Flyers in the Rangers’ final preseason game when he was able to kill a good chunk of a Rangers penalty by keeping the puck in the corner. According to DobberProspects.com Fontaine is “a responsible two-way center with quality hockey smarts and instincts.” If he continues to grow as a player, he could be a serious contender for the Rangers bottom six next season.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 27, 2017
Changing the Challenge – The NHL announced that they are changing the rules and regulations for the coaches challenge. First, and perhaps most notably, a coach can challenge a play without having to worry about burning their timeout. This gives coaches the freedom to challenge a close play without putting his team in a bad position late in the game. Second, if your offsides challenge is wrong, your team will be assessed a two-minute penalty. This may seem a bit harsh, but when you consider the minuscule margins between onside and offsides, and the time it usually takes the linesmen to make the decision, I am not opposed to penalizing the challenging team for delay of game. You can view the NHL’s official statement on these changes here.
However, there is a way, at least in my mind to take some of the “guesswork” out of the offsides challenge. And it’s a pretty simple explanation too. The rule should be, in this writer’s opinion, similar to the rule of whether or not a goal counts. Let me explain. When determining a goal, the puck does not need to be on the ice when crossing the goal line, as we have all seen in the NHL’s 100-year history. So why not apply that same principle to the blue line. Meaning, if a player’s skate is hovering above the blue line when the puck crosses into the offensive zone, the play is onside; and if not, then the play is offside. It seems like an easy fix, especially when you consider that a lot of the offsides challenges are decided by where a player’s skates are in relation to the blue line.