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How the Rangers take the next step to the Stanley Cup

The rebuild came faster than expected, with a trip to the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals. Getting to the NHL's major league will be the tough part. (Author: Gardener)

Rangers- New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant sat in a conference room at the Amalie Arena discussing how his team's surprise playoff run for the Stanley Cup ended in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. Sitting on the other side of a wall, coach Jon Cooper surrounded by Tampa Bay Lightning conference championship hats, drove a very different vibe. "Gerard Gallant will be sitting here in not too long," Cooper said, pointing to the podium. The Rangers held a 2-0 lead against Tampa Bay. Goalie Igor Shesterkin carried his superior play from his seven-game Round 2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes into the Conference Finals. He made 49 saves in Game 3 but failed to stop the competition's biggest shot: Ondrej Palat's goal with 42 seconds remaining on rule, brilliantly set up by Nikita Kucherov to give the blitz new life in the series. This would be a common theme for the next three games. They couldn't find that goal to tie Game 4 after Pat Maroon's tally early in the first, or that second goal in Game 5 that would have prevented more Palat exploits in the final two minutes of regulation, or that goal in Game 6 to earn overtime after Steven Stamkos answered their power play record in the third period. We fought hard. We had a chance to win all those games, but they found a way to get that goal at the right time," Gallant said. His Tampa Bay counterpart often talks about how the Lightning lost the 2019 first round to the Columbus Blue Jackets was a transformative moment for his team.The Lightning have since won 11 straight playoff series - Cooper quoted former Jackets coach John Tortorella as saying he "created a monster" with the win - and one "One of their most important lessons learned against Columbus: Nothing is accomplished unless it's earned. It just has to be done," Stamkos said. The Lightning had lost two of the previous three postseasons in the Conference Finals. Their regular season with 128 points in the season 2018-19 was one of the best in NHL history, everything pointed to promotion to the Stanley Cup, and four games later they were the laughing stock of the league t is one of the lessons the Rangers need to learn from this Eastern Conference Finals loss. Expectations that the Rangers are "next" are already there, from Jon Cooper's mouth to the pages of CapFriendly revealing a Rangers team that's well-positioned in terms of age and salary range. Now comes the hard part. Here are some of the lessons the Rangers can take from their loss to the Lightning to take the next step. This is the key to the most successful playoff runs. While the Rangers should be commended for their bravery in winning two playoff series in a seventh game, that expenditure of energy and attrition caught up with them against the Lightning, who were much more rested. "It's tough. That was their 20th playoff game in 40 days," Cooper said. Meanwhile, the Lightning had a nine-day break between their win over the Florida Panthers and the Conference Finals. There's a switch that flips for a championship-caliber team when they know that expending so much energy in the first two rounds can be detrimental to later rounds. The Lightning learned it on Cooper's first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015, when he had a seven-game first-round streak against the Detroit Red Wings, a six-game streak against the Montreal Canadiens, and then another seven- Match series won against Rangers. The Chicago Blackhawks, who defeated them in the cup final, beat the Minnesota Wild en route to the finals. The Lightning hadn't played a seven-game streak since the first two rounds of the playoffs until the Toronto Maple Leafs pushed them to the limit that year. "The playoffs can be a war of attrition sometimes," Cooper said. "I think in the end the layoff helped us and no layoff hurt them, and the long streaks. They just had to play a lot of games.” Cooper was fond of saying that he knew the series had turned “eight minutes into the second period of Game 2.” While that may be true, the Lightning lost that game and the Rangers led 2-0 at 9:44 of the second period in Game 3 of the series. The Lightning rallied to win that game and went on to win 3 times in a row after that. The Lightning has won back-to-back Stanley Cups for a reason. It's often the star players who help close the game. Check out what Stamkos and Kucherov gave the Lightning in the final games of the Conference Finals. The Rangers don't have this guy. GM Chris Drury was correct in his assessment of Rangers. "There was certainly no end to the whole season," he said. "I think we as a group realized how intense the playoffs are. We've definitely shown that we can play like that and handle close and intense experiences.” But it's not good enough to play well in the face of adversity. And to do that, you need to score more than one goal in each of your last three playoff losses. Perfect symmetry reigned at the end of Rangers' playoff run. In Game 6, Shesterkin played another stunning game, scoring a highlight roll with saves; and Rangers scored their only goal on the power play to finish with a 32.1% conversion rate, their best of the postseason. It turns out the regular season was a harbinger. The Rangers were defined as a team drawn to the playoffs by their Hart Trophy-nominated goaltender and elite power play that compensated for an inadequate 5-on-5 game. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Rangers scored two even goals after the first half of Game 2. Gallant said the Lightning are "a big, big defensive team," and that's true. He also said that Rangers' inability to score with consistent strength was a product of fatigue, which is only partially true. They earned 47% of 5v5 shot attempts in the regular season; They earned 44.9% of shot attempts in the playoffs. They scored 47% of expected goals in the regular season; They scored 39.2% of expected goals in the playoffs. They were what we thought they were: a team with an all-world goalie, exceptional power play, and four lines that hit at even strength. "Let's face it, if you have a [great] goalkeeper, he can hide some weaknesses in your team," Cooper said. When you collapse, you need someone who can keep you in the game.” Now the good news: Rangers have both a very solid foundation to build on and the maximum flexibility with which to execute that build. He's making $5,666,667 annually against salary cap through 2024-25, a deal that looks more brilliant at any cost. He makes all the difference," Cooper said. Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Adam Fox is 24 and signed from 2028-2029 with an annual cap hit of $9.5 million - another brilliant Drury deal. Fox defensive partner Ryan Lindgren is just 24 and is making $3 million a year against the cap for the next two seasons before turning RFA.They have two other strong young defenders in Braden Schneider, 20, who is a 43 regular Played season games for them and 20 others in the playoffs, Nils Lundkvist, 21, who has watched 25 games this season, and Zac Jones, 21, who was in the NHL for chunks of two seasons Up front, those playoffs signaled the arrival of Filip Chytil, 22, as an offensive force. Lafrenière, 20, showed so many flashes of an all-around exceptional game. (It remains to be seen where they go with Kaapo Kakko, their "Kid Line" linemate and a restricted Fr ee Agent who was a scratch in Game 6.) The veteran stars are in their prime: Mika Zibanejad, a star in every sense, is 29; Chris Kreider is 31 but still has his bikes; and Artemi Panarin is 30. According to CapFriendly, the Rangers have over $24.5 million in open cap space this offseason. Are they bringing back Tyler Motte and Frank Vatrano, who was a top lineman for them in the playoffs? "If you have the core that they have up front and some of the defenders that they come in and they have the goalie, that's a pretty good recipe," Cooper said. T. Miller, a strong 5v5 player who played for them from 2012-13 to the 2017-18 close. Perhaps they'll continue their hunt for star players while they're still far from the salary cap. Heck, steal from the best: Palat is an unrestricted free agent this summer. One thing is certain: the focus is now on the Stanley Cup. Any echoes of "the letter" and the accelerated rebuilding of the team - Panarin and Fox fell into their laps, a few draft lottery wins and the appearance of Shesterkin really sped things up, didn't it? You could see it in the devastated faces of the players after game 6. I don't want it to be over," Zibanejad said. The Lightning showed how to regain feeling and focus from numbness. The Rangers need to address their mistakes both internally and with more outside help. They must learn their lessons from this run, which was as fortunate - like the injuries the Penguins and Hurricanes suffered - as it dominated the game. Do that, and it will be Gerard Gallant sitting at the table in the championship hats rather than lamenting a season that fell short.

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What's next for the NY Rangers? 5 questions you'll face as you look ahead to the off-season

As their season wraps up in Tampa Bay, here's what's next for the New York Rangers. (Author: Gardener)

the NY RangersLess than 48 hours later, the sting of the New York Rangers defeat is still there. Their dreams of winning a Stanley Cup were dashed Saturday night in Tampa Bay when Lightning won Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals through a late goal from Steven Stamkos to officially end the Blueshirts' memorable season. It's been quite a ride and should receive recognition from a fanbase that has survived a brief rebuild and is now seeing the plan come to fruition. But the long season -- Rangers played 102 games total -- means it will be a short offseason with the NHL draft and free agency just a month away. Team President Chris Drury doesn't have much time to think before quickly turning the page to the next. GAME 6: The Rangers' magical journey comes to an end We'll spend the next few weeks examining what we've learned on this journey and where the Rangers go from here, using these five questions as a starting point: We're going into a a full breakdown of salary caps later this month, but the gist is: It's getting tight. Rangers have 16 players under contract who finished the season with the roster. If they're all still here to start the 2022-23 campaign, that leaves them with approximately $11.78 million in available Cap space with a minimum of four and a maximum of seven spots to fill. If it's the maximum, that's an average of $1.682 million per player. Of the players already in the books, there are six who will account for over 60% of the available cap space - forwards Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, defenders Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba, and goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin. These Essential Six must be the franchise pillars for the future, with Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider and Trouba having at least some no-movement clauses in their contracts. That means they're not going anywhere. Look for him to try and relieve defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who turned into a healthy scratch in the playoffs and stayed at $2.5 million a season for two years. Rangers would likely need to attach an asset to the 30-year-old to convince another team to take him, with the other alternative being a buyout. That would save $1.5 million next season and give them a $1 million cap hit. Indeed, according to CapFriendly, there would be no cap for the 2023-24 season, then $1 million per year for 2024-25 and 2025-26. Meanwhile, the Rangers have several unrestricted free agents. Andrew Copp, Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano are three of their top six forwards, along with forwards Tyler Motte and Kevin Rooney and defender Justin Braun. The list of restricted free agents begins with 2019 NHL draft pick Kaapo Kakko, along with forwards Sammy Blais and Julien Gauthier, and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. The bottom line is that a good chunk of players will be gone. Rangers' most important position in recent years has been center, with this summer marking a fork in the road. Zibanejad has signed his extension and Filip Chytil has another $2.3 million season ahead of him, but Copp, Strome and Rooney are each in flux. Drury's main decision revolves around second-line center: will he choose Copp, Strome, or others? It's the central question of the off-season, when in reality he can only afford one. Several people familiar with the situation told lohud.com, part of the USA TODAY Network, that the Rangers made a push to extend streams in late 2021. It's possible they could return to the negotiating table, but it feels like that ship may have sailed. Recent hints have been that Rangers would prefer to re-sign Copp, who has 32 points (14 goals and 18 assists) in 36 games with them between the regular season and the playoffs and brings with him more versatility. Copp is currently the front runner, but I would expect Drury to explore other options as well. Vancouver's JT Miller ($5.25 million for one more season) and Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele ($6.125 million for two more seasons) are certainly intriguing trade pieces, but it would take a long move to bring in both. But they're probably all outside of the Rangers' price range. Here's a name to keep an eye on: Vincent Trocheck. He's a two-way center who brings speed, a 54.6% faceoff win rate, plays against both special teams, and anchors Carolina's second line. He's still only 28 and has a manageable $4.75 million AAV. Some have questioned whether Rangers might consider promoting Chytil to the second tier following his postseason breakthrough. And while this might be a viable solution, it doesn't lessen the need to secure another center. How to overcome salary cap problems? Rangers have plenty of that, led by the kid line of Chytil, Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière, and defensemen K'Andre Miller and Braden Schneider. They've held up in the playoffs - some more than others - which should inspire confidence that they're ready to shoulder heavier burdens in 2022-23. The short-sighted decision to scrape him in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals raised questions about the organization's belief in the 2020 NHL draft pick, compounded when head coach Gerard Gallant refused to explain why after the 2-1 loss. It wouldn't come as a total shock if the 21-year-old gets involved in trade talks for a center. But early indications are that another team's offer hand will be viewed as a long shot. If Kakko sticks around - which remains the likely outcome - he should be given a chance to take on more responsibility. That's because with Vatrano almost certainly gone and the expected departure of either Copp or Strome (if not both), Rangers will need at least one or two of the young forwards to break into top-six roles. A person familiar with the situation confirmed that the No. 9 overall pick from the 2018 draft signed a one-year, $875,000 extension with Rangers on Sunday. There's still a chance he might be traded after another year of drama between him and the organization. But unless Drury finds a deal to his liking, the 22-year-old is fully planning to attend the training camp. While Kravtsov's future is up in the air, we know that forwards Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann will both be in camp after extremely productive seasons in the OHL. And while five of Rangers' D-slots are considered, they should give prospects Zac Jones, Nils Lundkvist and Matthew Robertson a fair shot at battling for sixth and final place. Who then decides not to make the cut should be used in a trade to improve forward depth. The head coach's strengths were already evident in his first season behind the blue shirt bench. Players love playing for Gallant because he keeps things simple and knows when to get out of the way. All this led to an overwhelming success this season. He led the Rangers to 110 regular-season points and an appearance in the NHL's Final Four, which exceeded expectations and earned him a Jack Adams Award finalist nomination. But now that the season is over, our attention turns to the next step. Rangers will come up next in 2022-23 with championship aspirations, although their list might not look that deep given the salary cap we've been discussing. First of all, he needs to have more faith in his young talent. Even when the Kid Line looked like the Rangers' best unit for stretches in the playoffs, he didn't seem ready to extend their ice age. Relying on veterans with limited skills will not maximize this group's potential. They also want the coaching staff to come up with better answers for the matchups thrown at them in the playoffs. Whether it's Pittsburgh and the Sidney Crosby line, Carolina and the Jordan Staal line, or Tampa Bay and the Anthony Cirelli line, opposing coaches have always found ways to negate the Rangers' best forwards. Everyone knew what was coming and it still frustrated Rangers. Gallant likes to say that he keeps things the same every day and that his steady hand helps his team stay calm and composed during many tense moments. But bringing a Stanley Cup to New York takes well-timed, strategic deviations. The continued growth of Rangers' young talent could be the biggest key to future success, especially given their cap. Or does Drury need to get creative to bring this squad to championship level? One that's being stressed by the analytics community is that Rangers need to become a better possession team to fix their five-on-five inconsistencies. It's been a glaring problem for most of the season as the team ranks 28th in the league with an average of 2.26 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5v5, according to Evolving Hockey. It came back to haunt them in the playoffs, with just one equal-strength goal in their last four games against the Lightning. Do they need another dynamic top 6 player who can control pucks and generate offense to keep up with strong teams like Tampa and Colorado? There's another faction that believes the Rangers should learn from what teams like Carolina have done to build a lineage specifically designed to take out their opponents' best players. They could climb into their top 6 with their best players, and then build a bottom 6 around players known for speed, forechecking, and defense. But signing one of them would take money out of the pot to add a center. Which way will Drury lean? Vincent Z. Mercogliano is the New York Rangers batting reporter for the USA TODAY Network. Read more about his work at lohud.com/sports/rangers/ and follow him on Twitter @vzmercogliano.

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2022 MLB picks, Saturday June 11 best bets of the proven model

SportsLine's model simulated the Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox game 10,000 times and released its MLB picks today (Author: Gardener)

MLBOct 4, 2019; Los Angeles, California, United States; Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws relief in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the 2019 NLDS Playoff Baseball Series at Dodger Stadium. The Chicago White Sox (27-29) host the Texas Rangers (26-31) in the second game of their three-game series on Saturday afternoon. The White Sox picked up a win in Friday night's first matchup of the series. Rangers are looking to get back on track after losing four of their last five games. Caesars Sportsbook lists Chicago as the -155 favorite on the money line (risk $155 to win $100) in the latest White Sox vs. Rangers odds. The over-under for all runs scored is set at 8.5. Before committing to White Sox vs. Rangers, you must look at SportsLine's advanced computer simulation model for MLB predictions and betting advice. Simulating every MLB game 10,000 times, the SportsLine Projection Model kicks off the 2022 season off to a strong start. It's on a 52-37 toss on top-flight MLB moneyline picks over nine weeks and grossing over $800 for $100- player back. Now the model has set its sights on White Sox vs. Rangers and just laid out its picks and MLB predictions. You can now go to SportsLine to see the model selection. Now, here are several MLB odds and betting lines for Rangers vs. White Sox: White Sox Tickets: See Tickets at StubHub *TEX: Rangers are 7-0 in the last seven 1 in the last six Saturday games in Game 2 of a series of the White Sox right fielder Kole Calhoun has both good strength and repartee. The 34-year-old currently has a .241 batting average along with seven long balls and 22 RBIs. Perez has the lights out on the mound and is looking to continue that dominance in this competition. The 31-year-old has a number of courts and can throw strikes all game. Midfielder Luis Robert is an experienced and versatile player for Chicago. Robert has tremendous speed to make difficult plays defensively in the outfield. The 24-year-old also has good racquet control and power. Robert's batting average is a .280 with six home runs and 20 runs clinched. Outfielder Andrew Vaughn is a nice offensive threat to the White Sox. Vaughn can effortlessly spray the ball all over the field thanks to his smooth swing and quick hands. The 24-year-old has the ability to be a constant home run and run-producing threat. SportsLine's model leans over the total, projecting nine combined runs. It also says that one side of the money line has all the value. The model's MLB picks are only available at SportsLine. So who's going to win White Sox vs. Visit SportsLine now to see which side to jump to, everything from the model who crushed his MLB picks, and find out.

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Rangers at Lightning, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Rangers (2M) at Lightning (3A)8 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVASTampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 3-2 (Author: Gardener)

3A)8 p.m. ETThe Tampa Bay Lightning can advance to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals by beating the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday at the Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay has won three straight games after losing the first two games of the series in New York. The Lightning would become the first team since the Edmonton Oilers of 1983–85 to reach the Stanley Cup Finals in three consecutive seasons. Tampa Bay is bidding to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in three straight seasons since the New York Islanders won four straight championships from 1980-83. The Colorado Avalanche is awaiting the cup final after beating the Oilers in four games in the Western Conference Finals, but the Lightning said they aren't thinking about it just yet. "It's just about focusing on the opportunity that we deserve," said Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh. They've got to find a way to close them here once again. The Rangers are 5-0 from elimination in the playoffs this season after recovering 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round and in the second round overcame a 3-2 deficit against the Carolina Hurricanes. New York will be able to count on this experience on Saturday. Now we've lost three in a row and we have to fight back," said Rangers coach Gerard Gallant. "We've been in that position five times (before) so I'm hoping to get the same result tonight. Rangers didn't have one Trouble playing with urgency in the playoffs when they were about to be eliminated, as their perfect record shows Tampa Bay has become adept at staying within its defensive structure and waiting for its opponent to make a mistake before theirs Uses skills to leap forward, as it did in Game 3 when it scored late winners (Ondrej Palat with 42 seconds left in a 3-2 win) and Game 5 (Palat with 1:50 in a 3-1 win) The Lightning are also desperate to play to take out the Rangers and not let them reschedule the series into Tuesday's New York Game 7. "Our mindset just has to be the same as the last three games," Light said ning striker Patrick Maroon. "Go out there and try to win a hockey game, but do it right, play hard and focus on what we can control. After scoring nine goals against Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in the first two games of the series, Rangers netted four goals in losing the last three, including one at an even strength. New York's 25 shots on goal in Game 5 were the fewest of the series. The Lightning had more success against Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin with traffic up front for screens and distractions. Tampa Bay scored two goals this way in Game 5. New York needs to do more of the same against Vasilevskiy, who is 3-0 with .33 goals against average, .990 save percentage and two shutouts in his last three potential series winners games. "We need to get a little bit more in front of their net, get some more pucks and body forward," said Rangers forward Andrew Copp. “You see the pucks going in right now. It's screened shots and they're hitting shin pads and stuff, so we've got to create those sleazy opportunities for us.” Although Vasilevskiy's 12-9 career record doesn't stand out in potential series-winning games, his 1.65 GAA, .942 save does Percentage and his NHL record six shutouts in those games. Vasilevskiy has allowed one goal in his last seven straight wins. The Lightning assembling a line from Brandon Hagel, Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn to play in Game 3 against Rangers' top line of Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano was one of the contributing factors to the to shoot a series for her. Kreider, Vatrano and Zibanejad have not scored a 5v5 goal since then. New York pulled away from that matchup with the last change on home ice in Game 5, but Kreider, Zibanejad and Vatrano had another quiet game. Back on the road with Tampa Bay able to dictate the matchups in Game 6, the line will no doubt see much of Cirelli's line again and will need to play through and produce this matchup. Point, a forward, competed in morning skating and will be a game-time decision when he participates in pregame warm-ups, said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

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Foresters risk life and limb to save yours

Rangers work with other agencies on rescue operations, often in remote and dangerous areas (Author: Gardener)

Some of my readers may not know it, but the New York State Department of Environmental Protection has a statewide cadre of incredibly well-trained officers who respond to search and rescue incidents, among many other duties. These are the rangers, who often work with other state agencies such as Department of Environmental Conservation law enforcement officers, local emergency response agencies, and volunteer groups to locate and extract individuals who have been lost or injured in that state's upstate areas. In addition to her forest management expertise, her knowledge of land navigation, first aid and highly technical rescue techniques is simply amazing. More importantly, training is often critical to successful rescue operations. After all, they typically operate in the most remote wilderness areas in every corner of the state, including rugged mountainous areas, on fast-flowing rivers, and in almost every wooded area. For example, in February, just before sunset, the DEC's Ray Brook dispatcher received a report that a spot locator beacon (personal portable satellite signal security device) had been activated in the High Peaks Wilderness. The coordinates bring hikers to the intersection of two trails on Mount Marcy. A ranger responded but was notified that the hikers were moving toward Marcy Dam. He located the three hikers in good condition and noted that they had "turned around" on the Hopkins Trail. The ranger escorted the hikers out and then took them to their accommodation. Although they have been to the High Peaks area before, they were not fully prepared for the wintry conditions that are routinely encountered in this region. I can attest that the weather there can change in a matter of seconds, temperatures can plummet and gale force winds can pick up without warning, especially at higher elevations. Visitors to wild areas in the state should plan ahead. You should always be prepared to spend an unplanned night (or two) on the trail. Including a first aid kit, fire starters and a flashlight (with extra batteries). It's always a good idea to be as prepared as possible when it comes to wilderness safety. GPS signals can be blocked by narrow valleys or dense trees. And batteries can drain quickly in cold weather. A tracking device uses satellite technology and is a good choice. And as a last resort, carrying a topographic map and compass along with knowing how to use both efficiently is often the best insurance for a safe winter excursion. Skis or snowshoes are required on all trails in the High Peaks, and it's recommended to wear one or the other on all backcountry trails. Their use prevents "post-holing" (attempting to walk in deep snow) and can prevent injuries. The key is to stay dry and warm, drink plenty of soft drinks, eat, and get plenty of rest. Foresters never know what situations they will face in a particular emergency run. Just recently (in March) they were notified of an injured climber by a local county 911 dispatcher. The rangers used snowmobiles but had to switch to snowshoes to get to him. They located and stabilized the 31-year-old man, who was from NYC and was climbing alone. Then they had to carry him back to the snowmobiles. A pulled sled took him to where the Lake Placid Ambulance Squad met them and completed transport to the hospital. At 12:30 p.m. on March 1, the office of DEC Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker on Cliff Mountain. A ranger, assisted by another well-trained individual, responded and reached them two hours later. They took her to the Lake Colden Outpost to warm up. Additional rangers and NY State Police aviation then took the injured woman to a local medical center. The DEC's rangers are a unique and important part of this agency. Literally, dozens of skiers, snowmobilers, hikers, campers and many others owe their lives to these dedicated men and women. They often receive far too little credit for the amazing services they provide to New York citizens and visitors. This whole case revolves around the Venus flytrap, a small carnivorous plant that feeds on insects and grows in swamps and bogs. It's a rare plant in this southern state and people want it protected. So on December 1, 2014, a law went into effect making it a criminal offense for anyone to remove this tiny plant. It didn't take long for the new law to be put into practice. Our previously named hero spent several weeks investigating reports of suspicious activity surrounding Holly Shelter Game Land. And with the support of the Pender County Sheriff's Deputies, he was able to plant-nap all four of them in January 2015. They had 970 Venus flytraps in their possession when they wrapped the long arm of the law tightly around their... oopsy. This change in the law was well received by the press. Every potential plant breeder needed to know about the new risks. You see, each stolen plant represents an individual crime. Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger's outdoor writer. Contact him at [email protected] This article originally appeared in Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: New York Foresters Risk Life and Life to Save Yours

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Roller Coaster Lost in Extras

Despite several comeback efforts, the White Sox failed to capitalize late and dropped the series to Texas. (Author: Gardener)

ExtrasThings got off to a rough start for the White Sox when starting pitcher Michael Kopech left the game in the first inning with what appeared to be a knee injury. This was only Cueto's second appearance of his career, his first coming late last year with the Giants. The veteran put up five solid innings, conceding just three earned runs with four strikeouts. The already taxed bullpen had to buy more innings in the second episode of the team's extra-innings affair. Tanner Banks, Kendall Graveman, Jose Ruiz and Matt Foster were all active, combining the first two relievers for three scoreless innings with a trio of strikeouts. Offensively, the White Sox struggled after scoring early in the first inning. That would be the entire offense until the 11th inning when the Sox scored a three in a wild frame. Overall, this wasn't a good game for Tony La Russa's team and bullpen usage has become very enigmatic. Notably, closer Liam Hendriks wasn't up once in that game, despite not having served since Friday. With that loss, the White Sox drop to 27-31 on the season and sit six games behind the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins. Relieved for only the second time in his career, Cueto didn't disappoint. He kept the White Sox in the game by allowing just three runs over five innings. In what has been a rather disappointing season for the White Sox so far, Cueto continues to be an unexpected bright spot for the team. Since the bullpen was already taxed and looking for a few innings, another guy joined the opportunity. That was Banks today and he did a great job knocking out Rangers late in the game. His performance gave the White Sox a chance to get away in the ninth inning. The White Sox travel to Detroit and face the Tigers for three games starting Monday. Lance Lynn is expected to celebrate his long-awaited return and take the nod as Cueto threw in today's game. Editor's note: Rangers 8, White Sox 6: Rollercoaster Ride Lost in Extras originally released on Sox on the 35th. Click here to follow the White Sox Talk Podcast.

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The Rangers end the 12-inning win over the White Sox with a 7-5 doubles

Jonah Heim hit a two-run single in the 12th inning and the Texas Rangers turned a double play on a ball hit in the warning lane to end an 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. (Author: Gardener)

RangersCHICAGO (AP) -- Jonah Heim hit a two-run single in the 12th inning and the Texas Rangers turned a double play on a ball hit to the warning lane to earn an 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday break up. Embattled manager Tony La Russa and the White Sox have lost four out of five. It started with right-hander Michael Kopech leaving after 13 pitches with a problem in his right knee and ended with an unusual double play in 12th place. Jose Abreu punched forward and looked at Kolby Allard, then Jake Burger hit a fly on the warning lane on the left. Charlie Culberson caught the ball and then threw out automatic runner Luis Robert, who was trying to catch and finish third. Robert slid across the base and was easily tagged by Ezequiel Duran, prompting a loud round of boos. "I felt like it wasn't a smart move to try to go ahead when you're two behind," Culberson said. "Yeah, you can't see that," La Russa said. In the top of the inning, Adolis García bested Matt Foster (1-2) and scored in Heim's singles. Duran hit a three-run homer ahead of José Ruiz in 11th, but the Rangers gave up their 6-3 lead. "Duran makes a mistake but comes back," said coach Chris Woodward. Seby Zavala had a sac fly from Joe Barlow (2-1) late in the inning. Danny Mendick tripled as Culberson and midfielder Eli White collided, reducing the deficit to one. Culberson said he lost the ball in the sun. White injured his right wrist and was sent for an X-ray. "I don't know if it hit me or hit the ground," Culberson said. White homered and had a sac for the Rangers, who won for the fifth time in 12 games. García added three goals. Andrew Vaughn's two-run single against Dennis Santana put Chicago in seventh place after Duran's error. Kopech (2-2, 1.92 ERA) was checked by the coaching staff with a full point and two outs against García. Kopech threw a warm-up pitch before poking his baseball in frustration and walking to the dugout to applaud. La Russa said Kopech could serve on Sunday. "I felt a stinging, pinching or popping or whatever you want to call it," Kopech said. Reynaldo López replaced Kopech and knocked out García. López threw two scoreless innings to opener on Friday as the White Sox defeated the Rangers 8-3. Left fielder Pollock robbed Marcus Semien with a jumping grab for the first out of an extra base hit. Kopech then got Corey Seager to fold. The Kopech injury deals another blow to the White Sox during an eventful homestand. Fans chanted "Fire Tony!" after Chicago squandered a five-run lead in 10 innings on Saturday and Sunday in an 11-9 loss to Rangers. The reigning AL champion White Sox is 27-31. Lopez batted three and allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings. Johnny Cueto, who was due to start in Detroit on Monday, replaced him. Cueto allowed Zach Reks a leadoff single before White hit his third homer to give Rangers a 2-1 lead. Cueto allowed three runs in five innings. Right-hander Jon Gray gave up a run and hit 10 in six innings. Burger's single put the White Sox ahead in the first round. The White Sox named DH/OF Yermin Mercedes to make room for Zavala, selected RHP Davis Martin to Triple-A Charlotte, and recalled Banks from Charlotte. White Sox: La Russa said All-Star closer Liam Hendriks is unavailable but didn't explain why. He said Hendriks should be available on Monday. C Yasmani Grandal (strained left hamstring) will be treated in the next few days and is avoiding the injury list, La Russa said. LHP Aaron Bummer (left lat) went to the 15-day IL retroactive to Thursday. RHP Joe Kelly (left hamstring) said his simulated game on Sunday went well. Kelly and SS Tim Anderson (right groin strain) are expected to begin rehab duties soon. Rangers: LHP Taylor Hearn (4-4, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday's series opener against Houston and RHP Cristian Javier (3-3, 3.22). White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (right knee surgery) returns from the IL and starts Monday against Detroit and RHP Rony Garcia (0-1, 4.50).

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Lightning Rangers Match 6 Testimony

The veteran defender slammed his racquet against the boards in front of Lightning Bank, snapping the blade off and then yelling at referee Chris Rooney as he left the ice. He was understandably upset after being hit in the jaw by Rangers' Alexis Lafreniere without a penalty kick midway through the second period at the Amalie Arena on Saturday. Hedman was even less happy... (Author: Gardener)

Lightning BankNew York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) falls to the ice as Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), right, smashes the puck during the first period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, May 11. June 2022, controlled in Tampa. The veteran defender slammed his racquet against the boards in front of Lightning Bank, snapping the blade off and then yelling at referee Chris Rooney as he left the ice. He was understandably upset after being hit in the jaw by Rangers' Alexis Lafreniere without a penalty kick midway through the second period at the Amalie Arena on Saturday. But they stayed calm in everything that mattered in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian (24), right, and New York Rangers center Kevin Rooney (17), battle during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Tampa. They stuck to their structure, managed the puck, played disciplined, waited for their chances and retired after taking the lead with a 2-1 win in a row. With their most complete game of the postseason, the Lightning advanced to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals and fourth in eight seasons, becoming the first team since the 1983-85 Oilers to reach three consecutive Cup Finals. When it was over, Hedman, returning for the third period, accepted the Prince of Wales Trophy alongside Stamkos and assistant captains Ryan McDonagh and Alex Killorn. He beamed from ear to ear as he followed Stamkos into the locker room while the captain held the trophy that goes to the Eastern Conference champion. Four more wins and the Lightning will become the first team to win three or more straight Stanley Cups since the Islanders won four straight from 1980-83. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) works it out in the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and New York defenseman Rangers forward Jacob Trouba (8) to take possession of the New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) battles on the boards against New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) during the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers for Game 6 of Saturday's Eastern Conference Finals. June 11, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. The ultimate team player, Stamkos has largely ceded the spotlight to his teammates for the past three postseasons: Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point before he got injured. Tampa Bay Lightning fans celebrate the team's arrival during the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. Stamkos opened the scoring 9:17 in the second period after a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The shot went around defender Ryan Lindgren's legs and under the blocker and over Igor Shesterkin's pad to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Stamkos was penalized for keeping Lafreniere 8-15 to play, which resulted in Frank Vatrano's crucial power-play goal with just under seven minutes to go. But Stamkos quickly made amends, scoring just 21 seconds later to restore the Lightning lead. A pass from Kucherov sent Stamkos alone at Shesterkin. The keeper parried his shot from deep with a glove, but the puck came out of his glove and caught Stamkos in the left leg as he ran past. New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) works to save Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) in the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June November 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. It took the Lightning more than 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard, but they carried the action early, played faster and spent more time in the offensive zone. By the end of the second period, they had a 50-23 lead in shot attempts, 23-13 in shots on goal, and 12-2 in chances. Only Shesterkin's outstanding work kept the Rangers in the game. Shesterkin caused his own troubles on the Blitz's first scoring chance when his clearing pass was knocked down by Riley Nash over the right circle less than four minutes into play. Nash quickly got the puck to Pat Maroon at the top of the crease, but Shesterkin stopped Maroon's tip-in attempt. Shesterkin saved with his left skate against a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare spike from a Hedman shot later in the half, then stopped with his left pad in the last minute on a backhand shot from point-blank range by Anthony Cirelli after a pass from Brandon Hail Cirelli had sent in alone. In the second third, Cirelli went to the net, but Shesterkin stopped his backhand attempt. Shesterkin then robbed Kucherov from below in the left circle after a cross ice pass from Stamkos and held his own when Maroon made a power move to the top of the net. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) gets a hug from Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) while Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) celebrates Stamkos' second goal against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The Lightning made a concerted effort throughout the game to net as many shots as possible while the Rangers struggled to generate chances or get traffic ahead of Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91), center, is congratulated by teammate Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) after scoring in the second period against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14), right, and New York Rangers left wing Dryden Hunt (29) are during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11 2022, seen in goal in Tampa. The Lightning played a disciplined game but two penalties in the third period put tremendous pressure on their penalty kill. After Tampa Bay took a 1-0, 17-35 lead, Corey Perry was penalized for his highstick on Filip Chytil, giving New York their first power play of the game. New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) blocks a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) during the third period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in tampa Erik Cernak blocked a few shots from Mika Zibanejad from the left circle, the second with a right hand, and sent him into the dressing room. Jan Rutta, coming out as Cernak's replacement, threw a puck over the boards and out of the zone to complete the kill. Vasilevskiy didn't get another shutout in a series-winning game, but he came terribly close. Thanks to the defensive play in front of him, he wasn't tested much, stopping 20 of 21 shots. But he made a big save on a rebound attempt by Andrew Copp from the top of the crease with about 13 minutes to go, taking away the bottom of the net after stopping a Jacob Trouba shot from the right spot. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) blocks a shot as Andrew Copp (18) watches a shot along with Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) for the third Period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Only Vatrano's 6:53 slam from over the left circle after a faceoff win by Copp saved Vasilevskiy from a seventh shutout in his last eight straight winning games. He's only allowed two goals on 221 shots in those games for a save percentage of .991. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) shoots the puck while New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) tries to save the shot during the third period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 to block in Tampa. Stamkos scored in a 2–1 Lightning win over the Rangers in the game's cancellation. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook. Tampa Bay Lightning players celebrate Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) winning goal in the third period against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The Lightning defeated the Rangers 2-1.

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Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs with a Game 6 loss to Lightning

Steven Stamkos' goal in the third period 21 seconds after Frank Vatrano equalized was the winner as Tampa Bay reached their third consecutive Cup final. (Author: Gardener)

Game 6- Seemingly spending the entire postseason with your back against the wall would eventually catch up with Rangers. It finally did on Saturday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals when the Blueshirts, attempting for the sixth time to avoid elimination from the playoffs, failed. Two goals from Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos were enough to knock the Rangers out of the playoffs and carry two-time Stanley Cup champions Lightning to a 2-1 win at the Amalie Arena. The Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight season and meets Western Conference Champion Colorado Avalanche. Stamkos' second goal, in a two-on-one at 13:28 in the third period, broke a 1-1 tie. His first shot was stopped by Igor Shesterkin, but the rebound went into the net off Stamko's leg. Stamkos scored just 21 seconds after Frank Vatrano's power play goal when the score was 13:07. In three games at the Amalie Arena in the series, Rangers scored four goals, and all were on the power play. For Rangers, who made the playoffs for the first time in five years this spring — barring that odd experience amid Toronto's COVID-19 bubble in 2020 — it was a sad end to a great season that saw them at 110 completed points in the regular season and finished second behind Carolina in the Metropolitan Division. The Blueshirts rebounded 3-1 against Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. They won that series with Artemi Panarin's goal in overtime in Game 7 at the Garden. Then Rangers came back, this time from 2-0 and 3-2 down against Carolina in the Round of 16. But when the season ended on Saturday, it hit the players hard. "Empty," he said after a long pause. "Honestly, I don't have much to say," said Mika Zibanejad. Defense attorney Jacob Trouba said he will "take a couple of days to think things through" but at the moment "it's not a good feeling". Shesterkin, who is likely to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender this season, played bravely and gave the Rangers a chance against the taller, more experienced Lightning. They went the full seven games in each of their first two playoff series and played their 20th game of the postseason in 40 days. Gallant said his team was tired, adding that it had a lot to do with why they lost four straight games after winning the first two games of the series. We're going seven, seven [then six games against Tampa Bay], no, really, breaks," he said. "I would have liked to have gotten through tonight and had two days off [before a Game 7 Tuesday at Madison Square Garden]. With his team on the verge of elimination for the sixth time in this playoff, Gallant made a few changes to Game 6, the biggest being the decision to drop 21-year-old forward Kaapo Kakko and bring in veteran forward Ryan Strome, who will play Game 4 had missed a right knee injury and was apparently compromised in Game 6. He played just 8 minutes and 46 seconds before Rangers took him out of the game. Gallant refused to speak about the decision to scratch Kakko. He said of Strome: “He started the game and he was fine. Stamkos' first goal, a harmless-looking wrist shot from the top of the right circle that hit Shesterkin on the stick side, opened the scoring at 10:43 of the second period. It was a stunning goal because up to that point Shesterkin had been great at averting everything the Blitz had thrown at him, including a nasty first-half realignment from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and a runaway from Anthony Cirelli. Shesterkin also made an almost unbelievable save against Nikita Kucherov's attempt at the back post in a two-on-one early in the period. The Rangers were outplayed 31-21, and according to the website Natural Stat Trick, Tampa Bay had 37 scoring chances over the 23 Rangers. According to the website, the chances of high danger were 17-6 in favor of the Lightning.

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The Rangers end the 12-inning win over the White Sox with a 7-5 doubles

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jonah Heim hit a two-run single in the 12th inning and the Texas Rangers turned a double play on a ball hit to the warning lane to earn an 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday break up. (Author: Gardener)

RangersCHICAGO (AP) -- Jonah Heim hit a two-run single in the 12th inning and the Texas Rangers turned a double play on a ball hit to the warning lane to earn an 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday break up. Embattled manager Tony La Russa and the White Sox have lost four out of five. It started with right-hander Michael Kopech leaving after 13 pitches with a problem in his right knee and ended with an unusual double play in 12th place. Jose Abreu punched forward and looked at Kolby Allard, then Jake Burger hit a fly on the warning lane on the left. Charlie Culberson caught the ball and then threw out automatic runner Luis Robert, who was trying to catch and finish third. Robert slid across the base and was easily tagged by Ezequiel Duran, prompting a loud round of boos. "I felt like it wasn't a smart move to try to move forward when you're behind by two," Culberson said. "Yeah, you can't see that," La Russa said. "His run means nothing, right? In the top of the inning, Adolis García bested Matt Foster (1-2) and scored on Heim's single. Duran hit a three-run homer ahead of José Ruiz in 11th, but the Rangers gave up their 6-3 lead. Seby Zavala had a sac fly from Joe Barlow (2-1) late in the inning. Danny Mendick tripled as Culberson and midfielder Eli White collided, reducing the deficit to one. Culberson said he lost the ball in the sun. White injured his right wrist and was sent for an X-ray. "I don't know if it hit me or hit the ground," Culberson said. White homered and had a sac for the Rangers, who won for the fifth time in 12 games. García added three goals. Andrew Vaughn's two-run single against Dennis Santana put it in seventh place for Chicago after Duran's error. Kopech (2-2, 1.92 ERA) was checked by the coaching staff with a full point and two outs against García. Kopech threw a warm-up pitch before poking his baseball in frustration and walking to the dugout to applaud. La Russa said Kopech could serve on Sunday. "I felt a stinging, pinching or popping or whatever you want to call it," Kopech said. Reynaldo López replaced Kopech and knocked out García. López threw two scoreless innings to opener on Friday as the White Sox defeated the Rangers 8-3. Left fielder Pollock robbed Marcus Semien with a jumping grab for the first out of an extra base hit. Kopech then got Corey Seager to fold. The Kopech injury deals another blow to the White Sox during an eventful homestand. Fans chanted "Fire Tony!" after Chicago squandered a five-run lead in 10 innings on Saturday and Sunday in an 11-9 loss to Rangers. The reigning AL champion White Sox is 27-31. Lopez batted three and allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings. Johnny Cueto, who was due to start in Detroit on Monday, replaced him. Cueto allowed Zach Reks a leadoff single before White hit his third homer to give Rangers a 2-1 lead. Cueto allowed three runs in five innings. Right-hander Jon Gray gave up a run and hit 10 in six innings. Burger's single put the White Sox ahead in the first round. The White Sox named DH/OF Yermin Mercedes to make room for Zavala, selected RHP Davis Martin to Triple-A Charlotte, and recalled Banks from Charlotte. White Sox: La Russa said All-Star closer Liam Hendriks is unavailable but didn't explain why. He said Hendriks should be available on Monday. C Yasmani Grandal (strained left hamstring) will be treated in the next few days and is avoiding the injury list, La Russa said. LHP Aaron Bummer (left lat) went to the 15-day IL retroactive to Thursday. RHP Joe Kelly (left hamstring) said his simulated game on Sunday went well. Kelly and SS Tim Anderson (right groin strain) are expected to begin rehab duties soon. Rangers: LHP Taylor Hearn (4-4, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday's series opener against Houston and RHP Cristian Javier (3-3, 3.22). White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (right knee surgery) returns from the IL and starts Monday against Detroit and RHP Rony Garcia (0-1, 4.50).

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