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John Muckler


C - Wayne Gretzky, Manny Malhotra, Scott Fraser, Harry York, P.J. Stock, Marc Savard. LW - Esa Tikkanen, Adam Graves, Kevin Stevens, Brent Fedyk, Darren Langdon. RW - Niklas Sundstrom, Alexei Kovalev, Todd Harvey, John MacLean, Michael Knuble. D - Brian Leetch, Ulf Samuelsson, Jeff Beukeboom, Mathieu Schneider, Peter Popovic, Eric Cairns, Jan Mertzig, Geoff Smith. G - Mike Richter, Dan Cloutier.


Alexei Kovalev, rw (Grade 1-2 left shoulder separation, out 2-3 weeks). Brent Fedyk, rw (broken left foot, out 3-4 weeks).


Recalled Marc Savard, c, from Hartford (AHL).


10/27 Buffalo       T 0-0
10/30 Carolina      W 1-0
11/03 at New Jersey L 3-1
11/04 Montreal      L 4-1
11/07 at Toronto    T 6-6


Atlantic Division   GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   
  New Jersey        12   7   5   0    14   25   26   
  NY Islanders      14   7   7   0    14   34   35   
  Philadelphia      14   5   5   4    14   34   33   
  Pittsburgh        12   5   3   4    14   32   32   
  NY Rangers        13   3   6   4    10   24   36


by Alex Frias, New York Rangers Correspondent

In the 1970s, the Rangers had the GAG (Goal a Game) Line. Now in 1998, they're the GAG Team.

"We need a goal-scorer, that's very obvious," Rangers coach John Muckler said. "We're working hard to improve but a goal-scorer isn't easy to obtain. I think the organization is doing everything in its power to get something going. I'm sure somewhere down the line something will shake loose."

Well for Muckler's sake, it better be a short line, because this Ranger squad is averaging 1.5 goals a game. Yes, that wasn't a typo. Recently, the Great One was seen skating side-by-side with the infamous Mike Knuble on his right wing. Talk about a lethal combination the likes of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.

"Every game makes me more anxious to try and find help for this team because we've seen so much improvement in the way the team's playing and the work ethic they're showing," said Rangers president and general manager Neil Smith. "It would be great if we could do something to add some scoring, some people who can score. I think the ingredient we're missing is the game breaker. It's the type of player we haven't shown we have."

The longer the Rangers go without such a scorer, the more likely Smith will have to part with some of the quality youngsters in the organization. Which includes the once untouchable Niklas Sundstrom, who has struggled to find the back the net, and rookie goaltender Dan Cloutier, especially since Mike Richter signed a four-year deal over the summer. And what about Alexei Kovalev? The Rangers would love to make him the centerpiece of any deal, yet his inconsistency has his value so low around the league the Rangers are sure to take a loss.

Right about now, the only untouchables are Wayne Gretzky, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Todd Harvey and 18-year-old Manny Malhotra. After that short list, anything is possible if the current situation is given enough time.

Kovalev Out for Two: "Well, it's not going to hurt our offense any."

That's what coach John Muckler said when asked how he'll replace Alexei Kovalev, who suffered a separated shoulder against Buffalo that will put him on the shelf for 2-3 weeks.

"He's our game-breaker," said Rangers captain Brian Leetch. "He's our one player that, one-on-one, can break a team down. Not many teams have that. And regardless of whether he's putting the puck in the net, he always gives us something."

Now what that something is exactly, I don't think anyone is quite sure of yet.

Savard Leaves a Marc: After a two-point, 28-game rookie year, Marc Savard vowed to play his own game when given a second chance.

"I didn't try to be someone else, like I did last year - I tried to be a different player, I think," said Savard after posting four assists in the 6-6 tie with Toronto. "I came in tonight and tried to play relaxed and do my thing."

"He gave us a new look, there's no question about it," John Muckler said. Both wingers (Adam Graves and Todd Harvey) played a strong game with him. He moved the puck very well too and gave them opportunities."

Savard, who scored 114 goals and 356 points in 178 games in his final three seasons of junior hockey, was leading the Rangers minor league affiliate in Hartford in scoring with 13 points in nine games at the time of the call up. Savard is at his best when he uses his speed and quickness to be an annoyance on the forecheck and to exploit his fine puck and skating skills to create scoring chances.

"I think, last year, I just tried to get the puck in the zone and be a forecheck type player," Savard said. "And I was rushing things. (Saturday night), I had the puck and I held onto it more and I made better plays and better decisions, I think."

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