It’s the final home game of the season for the Rangers and despite being eliminated from the playoffs, the talk of the hockey world is about the Blueshirts (7:00 P.M. ET, NBCSN).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Capitals
5thEast Ranking2nd

               It’s been a wild 48 hours that no one could have predicted. Let’s start with Monday night’s game where the Capitals defeated the Rangers. The result hardly mattered because of a very controversial incident that took place in the second period that had the hockey world talking. With the Blueshirts on the power play with a 3-2 lead, a loose puck was eventually covered by Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek. With Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich in a defenseless position, Capitals forward Tom Wilson suckered punch Buchnevich in the back of the head which started a big scrap. During that scrap, Wilson got tangled with Artemi Panarin and pulled his hair down while slew footing him and took him down to the ice. Wilson continued to throw punches at Panarin while he was down. Panarin did not play in the rest of the game and is out for the remainder of the season due to the confrontation with Wilson.

               “He should have more respect for the game and for the players,” said Mika Zibanejad. “I don’t even know where to start. It’s just horrible.”

               “There are lines that can’t be crossed in this game,” said head coach David Quinn. “To me, it’s just zero respect for the game, in general. You get one of the star players in this league now, who could have got seriously, seriously hurt in that incident.”

               Wilson has been suspended a countless number of times and many thought he might be suspended playoff games. With many expecting the NHL to come down hard on Wilson who is a repeat offender, the NHL did the exact opposite and only fined Wilson $5,000. This sparked outraged from Rangers personnel and fans from all teams across the league.

               “I think it’s a joke, to be honest with you. I think Tom Wilson is an effective hockey player,” said Ryan Strome. “He plays the game on the edge, which is what it is… I think the league missed one big time.”

               It got to the point where Rangers owner James Dolan who often leaves the Rangers alone to focus on the New York Knicks, reportedly stepped in and released a powerful statement on behalf of the Rangers organization calling for the firing of George Parros – the head of player safety.

               “He is unfit to continue in his current role,” the statement said.

               This drew a lot of attention and really many were happy the Rangers called out the league. The Rangers will likely get a fine that will be far more substantial than what Wilson received from the league. A fine is expected to be worth six digits which Dolan seems happy to pay given he was willing to make a statement about how he felt the league handled the situation.

               Fans from across the league were excited to get ready to tune in for Wednesday’s game on national television to see how the Rangers will respond. Many had hoped the Rangers would call up 6’4 defender Mason Geertsen who is the Rangers biggest “tough guy” in the organization. Geertsen wasn’t called up and it’s likely the Rangers won’t have much of an answer for Wilson’s shenanigans.

               But if you thought that was the biggest news that was going to happen prior to the game, you would be very mistaken. After Quinn’s pregame press conference was cancelled, many wondered if something else was going on with how the Rangers could deal with the situation. However, the news would shock the hockey world as Dolan had decided to part ways with Rangers President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton. It’s been reported that this has nothing to do with the Wilson incident and Dolan was not happy with how the season has gone and was unhappy with how the rebuild has gone.

               “We want to thank JD and Jeff for their contributions to the organization. They are both great hockey professionals who worked hard for the Rangers, however, in order for the team to succeed in the manner our fans deserve, there needs to be a change in leadership,” Dolan said.

               Ranger’s fans for the most part have been very happy with how the rebuild has been going and how the team is looking for the future. This came as a shock to everyone in the hockey world. Assistant General Manager Chris Drury has been promoted permanently to General Manager and President.

               “Chris is a very sought-after executive and a strong leader, who has proven himself to be one of the top young minds in hockey,” said Dolan. “We are confident he will effectively guide the team to ensure the long-term success we promised Rangers fans.”

               And with all of the off-ice distractions taking a toll, the Rangers still have their final home game to be played. The big question remains will there be any retaliation by any player on the Rangers for Tom Wilson? Another thing to look for is the mannerisms by Quinn. With Dolan reportedly unhappy with how the season has gone, could Quinn be the next one on the chopping block upon the conclusion of the season? Quinn has been with the Rangers for what will be three seasons. The Rangers have shown improvement under the former Boston University head coach, but now his job appears to be in serious jeopardy. The way he coaches tonight could give you all the insight we need in answering that question.

               Alex Ovechkin will be out for the Capitals as he deals with a lingering injury. Ovechkin played his first shift and didn’t return for the rest of Monday’s game. Vanecek is expected to get the start for the Capitals.

               It was also announced by Quinn that Ryan Lindgren and Jacob Trouba are also done for the season with Panarin. Chris Kreider is day-to-day and if he can’t go, Phil Di Giuseppe will draw back into the lineup.

               There are many uncurtains about what will happen tonight. But one thing is for sure – despite not being in the playoffs the Rangers are playing a game that no one will want to miss.

Projected Lineup




Di Giuseppe-Rooney-Gauthier