Sorry folks, but I’m moving my website.
Head on over to http://www.nyrblueshirts.com/ for continued Rangers coverage from me.
Also changing my name on twitter as I’ll no longer be on wordpress. I know, a ton of changes at once is a bit odd it’s for the best. If you have been following me on twitter we’re good, but if not my new twitter username is @NYRBlueshirts and you can follow me there!
Can’t wait to see you at the new site! And thanks for your continued support!!
*I was typing up this post during the twitter hooplah about McCabe coming to NYR, didn’t think it would happen when I was typing it up. Bolded for your viewing pleasure are the spots I’ve posted on McCabe.
I know I’ve sprinkled in some of my thoughts on what I think the Rangers should do on Monday, before 3pm the trade deadline, so here it all is, with up to date information, my opinions on what the Rangers should do.
Even since before the Rozsival trade I was clamoring for the Rangers to bring in more veteran depth to the defensive corps, and now with Staal out (day to day and will not play tomorrow VS Tampa) it’s more pressing that the Rangers need to add depth to what is the youngest defense in the National Hockey League. With an average age of 23.3333 (not including Eminger) and 23.86 including Eminger, this defense is young and that’s the understatement of the day.
Obvious options are only those with expiring contracts as the Rangers have a plan in place to go forward from this year. These players include, Steve Montador (Buffalo), Bryan McCabe (Florida), Chris Phillips (Ottawa) as the most attractive availabilities.
I think there’s no way the Sabres trade Montador as they’re most likely going to be buyers at the deadline, but if I’m Sather I’m all over this. Buffalo just waived their captain Rivet, a veteran dman who played himself out of the lineup and to the #8 spot on the depth chart, so getting rid of another dman doesn’t seem to be in their plans. I’m expecting the Sabres to buy and this is why I don’t think Montador is going anywhere. But like I said before if I’m Sather I’m on the phone with Darcy Reiger all day long trying to swing a deal for Steve. The market for renting dmen this season isn’t a high one and a 2nd round pick + a mid level prospect could get a deal in motion, IF Buffalo was selling. With his +11 on the season, Montador is the only Sabres defenseman that has played in over 40 games and sports a + rating. I do also note that +/- is an impossible statistic to preach to Rangers fans as a selling point seeing as how we were treated to a Marek Malik +28 and +32 seasons in 05/06 and 06/07 respectively. Montador’s offensive game is limited but he’s a smart player who would be able to take minutes away from Staal and Girardi keeping them fresh. He’s my number 1 target for NYR, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
As for McCabe if you’ve been following me on twitter you know the rumors are rampant. McCabe will be a UFA at years end but he has a NMC and this seems to be a road block to any possible deals. Reports are everywhere that McCabe wants to stay in Florida and even sign an extension there but I don’t know if the Panthers are on board with that. Knowing that they’re probably going to sell at the deadline and McCabe is a guy that commands a big money salary, we’re more than likely to see McCabe being dealt.
As I type that sentence I get this tweet from Pierre LeBurn: “Panthers-Rangers trade talks on McCabe ongoing as we speak at this hour…”
As it begins to appear it’s only a matter of time before McCabe becomes a Ranger. Asking price for McCabe should be similar to what we’d see Montador be dealt for. 2nd round pick + mid-level prospect or project NHLer. I could see a 2nd round pick + a guy like Gilroy headed to Florida for McCabe’s services.
He’s lost a step in his old age but he’d be able to give the Rangers good third pairing minutes while adding a good shot on the power play. I’d advocate a deal for McCabe no question about it.
Chris Phillips on the other hand is a very unlikely target for Sather as he too is looking for an extension with his own club right now. At the Sabres Senators game at HSBC last night I came away far more impressed with Montador (as usual) then I did with Phillips. But he is appealing as an expiring contract and should be given a look to see what price he’s asking for. If extension talks with the Senators fall through expect Phillips to be dealt at the deadline.
Sather’s MO in recent trade deadline history hasn’t been to bring in big name players however.
Last season was the acquisitions of Jody Shelley and Anders Eriksson at the deadline, with Jokinen and Prust coming over before the deadline.
08/09 was the Nik Anropov Derek Morris show.
07/08 Christian Backman and Freddie Sjostrom
Slats wasn’t dealing for the Kovalchuks at the deadline he was dealing for the guys that wouldn’t cost a ton and could be could key role players for the Rangers down the stretch.
So who is this year’s Anders Eriksson? Well, it doesn’t appear Slats is going that way trying to add McCabe, a much bigger name than Backman or Eriksson, but I’d say the Anders of this year is a guy like Jason Strudwick or Jan Hejda. However again Sather appears to be going the route of more immediate help with a guy like McCabe being rumored to coming over.
The forward position is absolutely garbage this year for potential rentals at the deadline.
Aside from Richards who I’d put money on stays in Dallas, there’s basically no one there.
If Sather is looking for forward depth I’d suggest scouring the waiver wire as there have been some interesting names there. One that stands out to me is Islander’s Rob Schremp who was waived today at noon and teams will have monday at noon to put in a claim for him.
Schremp is an absolute wizard in the offensive zone, it’s in the D area where he has issues. Give him a guy like Torts to force the defense out of him and put him with defensively responsible wingers and we could have a match made in heaven. Or, throw him on Gaborik’s line and let them wreak havoc with each other in the offensive zone. I’d be all over adding Schremp to the Rangers, especially at no cost. He’s still a young guy with actual untapped potential, unlike Christensen whose tapped about everything in that bi-polar brain of his.
Schremp’s a US born guy so he’d fit in with what we’re trying to build here, but his character (and again ego in the D zone could come as a detriment unless worked out by Torts). He reminds me a lot of Wolski in the fact that he’s jumped from team to team unable to find success and bringing him into an environment like the Rangers are building could be a good thing for him. With the Isles so far this season Schremp has 10 goals and 12 assists in 44 appearances.
All in all I don’t think we’re set up for one of the best trade deadline days in history barring some major out of nowhere blockbuster deal for a guy like Richards. But we’ve seen a TON of action going on before the deadline which makes this year more interesting then ones before it.
The Rangers play tomorrow against Tampa, their last contest before 3pm on Monday.
I’d expect no member’s of the core to be moved. Lundqvist, Gaborik (yes, Gaborik), Dubisnky, Callahan, Stepan, Anisimov, Staal, Girardi, McDonagh, Sauer will all definitely be Rangers after 3 pm on Monday. There is no doubt in my mind about that.
However, I can’t say the same for Washington’s 2nd round pick that the Rangers own or a guy like Gilroy or Christensen (*fingers crossed*)
Keep checking back here and twitter throughout the day as a trade for McCabe seems imminent. Other than that enjoy your Saturday and I’ll see you all tomorrow post-game.
Puck drops at 1 tomorrow on MSG
TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Rangers have traded Tim Kennedy and a third round pick to Florida for Bryan McCabe!
This is an absolute steal for the Rangers and I’m not exactly sure what the hell the Panthers are thinking with this trade. Kennedy needs to pass through re-entry waivers to reach the Panthers and at half price for a guy like Kennedy, who should have been with the Rangers all season
Steal…absolutely 100% a steal here for the Rangers.
So, ignore most of what you read above has the Rangers have seemingly solved their defensive issues. Posting this anyway for dramatic effect.
Thanks again to @jgavriel for covering the game last night while I was busy scouting Montador at HSBC arena. Montador was BEAST for the Sabres last night. The dude is just so intelligent in his own zone. His offensive zone game isn’t great, but he makes the little smart plays that lead to goals. In 18:30 of ice time last night Montador recorded 2 assists and was a +3 for the Sabres. An ideal target for any team down the stretch, Montador, who is an expiring contract, should be very highly targeted on Monday.
A great captain once said “We don’t break down the wins”. But we can still talk about some of the good things that were done and break down some season long problems.
Good for a laugh on an off day …
Now, the fact that the Rangers were able to force OT and eventually the shootout where they are nearly unbeatable is a great feat if you only consider the game from the point where Jussi Jokinen made it 3-2. But I’m not about to let them off that easy.
This was a game where the Rangers needed to make a four point swing in the standings in their favor, and they were set up beautifully to do this by taking a lead into the third period, where they stood at 20-0-0 when doing so. What happened in the first half of that third period was exactly the opposite of what should have happened. The Rangers losing Marc Staal before the period to a twisted knee began the need to rely more heavily on rookie Mike Sauer, and sophomore Matt Gilroy, and it cost them. Ladies and gentlemen the glaring need to bring in a veteran dman who can stabilize the back end is now more apparent than ever after last night’s game.
On the Canes first goal it’s just awful communication between the whole team and Gilroy’s turnover leads to a breakaway on Hank, off the post off Lundqvist and in.
Canes second goal was because Gilroy – who has no business on the PK but was there because Staal is out – has no clue how to play on the penalty kill, and just as the penalty to Sauer I believe it was expires, Gilroy gets bodied off the puck like he’s a 12 year old girl and since Sauer is just getting back into the defensive zone he’s too late to pick up Jokinen in the slot who has a free shot to fire it past Hank.
Canes third goal happens because Sauer takes Jokinen out of the play, but then forgets all about him allowing him to skate untouched into the crease and have a happy birthday present of Prust proportions to put the Hurricanes up a goal.
So with these defensive gaffes you’d think the time is now, especially when we don’t know just how long Staal is going to be out, or if he’s going to miss any time at all. I’ve been advocating bringing in a guy like Montador for weeks and weeks now, and this is a necessary component the Rangers are going to need to add to get themselves comfortably into the playoffs this season.
But it would be awful of me to just focus on the negatives that I found in the game without finding some positives to talk about to, and there were plenty to go around in last night’s effort.
Although his defensive partner played an off game, which is reasonable for a rookie dman, McDonagh was again as solid as can be. His good skating ability allows him to make the subtle plays in his own zone that are required to be a successful dman at the NHL level. McDonagh game in and game out continues to improve and progress and he’s a good guy to have on the back end right now.
Del Zotto was burned a handful of times in his own zone, but he’s not on the Rangers to play strong defense. What was encouraging is that Del Zotto had two good chances in the offensive zone last night, both from reasonably the same spot on the ice and one of them even coming in the 4 on 4 OT play. What is discouraging however is that Del Zotto missed the net trying to pick the corner high blocker side on Ward both times. The ability is there, the confidence is not, but if you’re slumping like DZ is I’m not sure why he’s trying to pick corners, get a good low shot on net next time, force a rebound and pick up an assist kid.
After the Canes took a lead last night it turned into the Wojtek Wolski show, and with the help of his linemates Stepan and Zuccarello (again last night the Rangers most effective line) they were able to accomplish what we have been expecting out of Gaborik and his linemates all season. Wolski turned into a gamebreaker. You noticed him every time he was on the ice, he scored the game tying goal by being patient and just throwing the puck at the net, and he ripped one top shelf for the shootout winner to put the Rangers on his back and get them 2 huge points in the standings. If the Rangers can keep this line going strong, and finally get Gaborik going the right way then they will have two very good offensive units.
Dubi – AA – Cally don’t impress me as much as they used to in the offensive zone as a unit. Anisimov takes too long to get his shots off but it’s promising that he’s always looking. Dubinsky doesn’t seem to have the same type of shot he had going in the beginning of the season, but he’s one of the last people on the Rangers I’d worry about. And even through this lines struggles, Callahan continues to put goals in the net with 6 in his last 10. Last night off a great feed from Zuccarello to deflect it past Cam Ward as the Rangers scored (on the power play) just as their 5 on 3 advantage expired.
Power play definitely had a promising night, it looked good. This means even more last night because Carolina is a very aggressive penalty killing team, and although they had good shorthanded chances the Rangers were able to generate some of their own chances too. It’s a good foundation game to build on for the power play.
Lundqvist at points in the game last night was a one man show, and he absolutely stood on his head. Before Wolski came along and stole the spotlight Henrik was by far and away the player of the game for the Rangers. The Hurricanes had countless odd man rush chances and even breakaway chances and Henrik held them to three goals. This is the reason why goals against average and save percentage statistics are misleading. You’d see Henrik’s numbers after the game last night and be unimpressed, but that was a helluva show he put on last night. I think he’s back for good this time.
Prospal was a man on a mission last night and it’s a shame he couldn’t find a way to bury one for himself. Probably the best he’s looked since returning which is odd as it coincides with his first game away from Gaborik. I thought Christensen was absolutely garbage last night, but that’s no surprise. Boyle too was quiet.
Avery – Newbury – Prust line was a good hard banging line put together by Torts and it paid dividends right away. Newbury was hitting everything in sight, Avery gets the puck and drives hard to the net, something he needs to do more often and Pruster gets a nice birthday present for the easy tap in. Good thing it came the day after I ripped him a new one. Doesn’t change the fact that he’s a glorified fourth liner.
But in the big picture it was a good thing to see. The Rangers lose their lead in the third period and I couldn’t help myself from thinking, oh great, here’s the Atlanta game all over again. But not this time. The Rangers were able to get it together and find a way to tie and eventually win the game.
It’s going to be a grind to the end of the season hoping that all these shootout wins don’t come back to hurt the Rangers because remember, they do not count towards your win total in a tie breaker this season. Rangers are tied for the league lead for shootout wins with 7. Now if they keep winning this number doesn’t matter, but they need to keep winning to do that.
Around the NHL news:
Big day on waivers today, names of interest are former Ranger Nik Zherdev (called that one, thank you) Sabres Captain Craig Rivet (waiving the captain, nice touch) and Marek Svatos (brought from overseas by the Blues, claimed by the Predators and now later waived by the Predators). I don’t think the Rangers are going to be putting in a claim for any of these guys.
Here’s a shot of the standings how they look today…
3 points on Carolina, 8 on Buffalo. Goes to show just how big last night’s game actually was.
Darren Dreger over at TSN is reporting that the Stars will begin to explore trade options for Brad Richards as they have fallen mightily. Richards is still recovering from a concussion but he’s an elite talent and I don’t think that’s going to deter many teams. Dreger has reported that the Rangers are 1 of 6 teams making inquiring about Richards:
“The New York Rangers are believed to be among as many as six teams who have recently discussed the star centre’s potential availability.”
You can read that here: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/dregerreport/
The Rangers next play on Friday in Washington, another huge four point swing game. I will not be able to catch this game as I am being treated to a Sabres/Senators game here in Buffalo and it’s tough to pass up a rivalry game like that. So, for Friday’s game @jgavriel will have the coverage for you (I’m hoping).
But before that game in Washington…
The Sabres and Thrashers play tonight versus each other, so let’s hope for no 3 pt game there.
And on Thursday the Canadiens play the Leafs, so let’s go Maple Leafs.
And Friday is a huge day as the Rangers, Hurricanes, Thrashers, Sabres, and Devils are all in action.
Monday trade deadline, so these games mean a lot in terms of which way the organization is going to take the team. I’d expect the Rangers to buy buy buy (hopefully a veteran dman *fingers crossed*) but would also not be surprised to see them cut ties with some complementary players like Christensen (hope so) or Eminger (at this point). In any case Monday should be a great day.
Woa, long post.
What can you say about this one other then it’s huge. It’s bigger then huge, probably the biggest game of the season to date…definitely the biggest game of season to date.
Why? Well if you have to ask…
First things first in this post, let’s take a look at the standings since we haven’t here in a while, hopefully why this game is so huge becomes more clear after you see…
They say a picture says 1000 words. I’d say this one says about 10,000.
The Rangers sit at only 2 points ahead of Carolina with 1 game in hand. This four point swing game can either make the Rangers four points up on the Hurricanes with a game in hand or leave them tied with the Canes holding that game in hand, leaving the Rangers in 8th place, 4 points ahead of the Sabres who will have 4 games in hand after tonight.
Starting to see the picture here? It’s a huge game.
If the Rangers lose tonight it begins the start of writing themselves out of the playoff picture, it would be a hard thing to come back from. Hopefully Torts knows this, the guys in the locker room know this.
To grab the win tonight we’re going to need to see first half of the season Rangers. Going into enemy territory with that swagger that got them to 17 road wins on the season. They’re going to need that never say die attitude, the attitude that no team could beat them and that they could win on any given night. Not the attitude that has them saying now that a bounce this way or that way and it’s a different game.
You make your own luck.
It’s time for the Rangers to start re-writing the season. Get off the mid-season slide they’re on and get back to winning, and if not atleast winning, getting back to being the team that they’re capable of being.
Go back to outworking the opposition, go back to having that character that set the Rangers up in 6th place in the first place and get it back.
Nothing is given, everything is earned.
To counter Cam Ward, Lundqvist will be back in net tonight, a great move by Tortorella. This is game 7, you go with the guy whose gotten you there. It’s time for Lundqvist to step up and be that guy again for this team. With Gaborik out more of a load falls on Hank’s shoulders, he needs to be ready to carry it.
Eminger remains a healthy scratch as this continues to be one of the biggest mysteries of the season.
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Wojtek Wolski-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Vinny Prospal-Erik Christensen-Brian Boyle
Sean Avery-Kris Newbury-Brandon Prust
Personally? Hate them. Think Torts could have spread the wealth a little better, but a lot of the pressure of tonight’s game is going to fall on those top 2 lines.
As fans we’re going to need to expect huge games from the core guys, Dubi – Cally; Staal – Girardi and especially Hank.
If nothing else at all at least this is going to be a fun game to watch, fun in the sense that I’ll have no finger nails or hair after it if it’s a close game.
This is why the season is so long, this is why every point matters. Get back to winning and get back to not having to worry about the scoreboard every night.
It’s time the Rangers got back to being Rangers.
Puck drops at 7pm on MSG, enjoy the game everyone.
Blogging right after the game…this could be entertaining for you guys.
I have a lot of things I want to say about this franchise, about the state of this team. About their oft injured $7.05 million captain who hasn’t scored a goal this season. About their $6.5 million dman sitting in the minor leagues. About their $6.875 million goalie who has been struggling mightily this month. But it’s a rant for another day, coming up soon in my trade deadline preview. Today we’ll focus on this all too familiar loss.
First of all, I’m going to brag a little bit.
I’ve called the uselessness of Boyle and Prust when everyone else was clamoring that they’re the best thing since sliced bread and a part of the core. Where was Prust tonight? Parked on the bench. Where was Boyle tonight? Seeing random shifts on the fourth line as Tortorella took to rolling three in the third period. Actually, I’m going to do some research on Pruster…
Here’s what I wrote on Prust in my player profile segment of him on January 11th:
“In the eyes of John Tortorella and the Rangers brass Prust has taken a huge step forward in his development this season. He’s gone from a fourth line energy guy to a third line power forward that can be used in all situations. He’s gone from averaging 9:20 on ice per game to averaging over 14 minutes a game. He’s also experiencing what is by far and away his best NHL season so far recording 15 points in 43 games while being able to do the dirty stuff like dropping the gloves in the absence of Boogaard as well.
But it is here where Torts and I really differ in opinion. Torts has gone on record saying that Prust and Boyle (more on Boyle next week) have worked their way into the core of the Rangers. And I’ve said this in a previous post but I’m not sold on Boyle and Prust in the core. They are essential players to making a deep playoff run but they are not guys that you build a team around, my definition of the core. I still think that Prust is playing over his head right now on the Rangers third line and would be better served for the team in a fourth line role with PK time. I just don’t think Prust has the offensive skill to play over 14 minutes a game but hey, I’ve gotta trust the coach on this one.”
Brandon Prust has:
- Not recorded a point in his last 8 games, in those 8 games he is a combined -6 and hasn’t recorded a + game.
- I get on Prust a lot for seemingly only fighting when the Rangers are winning, which is dumb because it allows the opposition to gain momentum, well… In the 14 games Prust has fought, the Rangers were winning 5 times and their record in those games stands at 3-0-2. He has fought 4 times when the Rangers are losing and in those games the record is 1-3. And in the 5 games where he fought during a tied game, the Rangers are 2-3. So, not as bad as I expected…at all. But you can’t deny that there were a lot of good opportunities for Prust to drop them today, and in previous games that could have helped swing momentum for the Rangers.
Reading twitter accounts of the game now, seems that the Rangers are staying positive. Not sure how Callahan could say with a straight face that the Rangers played a full 60 minute game today because I don’t even remember seeing a blue sweater on the ice during the second period. I’d give them a generous 40 minutes today. But again, Rangers staying optimistic.
However I am not as optimistic. I fail to see how the Rangers of today are the same as the Rangers of the beginning of the season. The team with swag that was easy to fall in love with. The team that gave an honest 60 minute effort 95% of the time and you never thought was out of the game. I don’t have the same emotional attachment to THIS team right now, they’ve lost me. I don’t think they’re playing as hard and I don’t believe that they have the ability to pull out a win even when they’re going into the third period trailing, which by the way has become this teams specialty.
Gaborik didn’t return to the game because he has a concussion, Rangers aren’t sure when he sustained it, no timetable for return. Concussions are tricky, he could miss three games or thirty. Either way, not the news you want to here.
Lundqvist continued to slump today when I thought that Jersey game would definitely help him break out. However he was only really at fault on the Carcillo goal, which is now magnified as it turns out to be the game winner. Not entirely sure how that puck got under Hank but it makes you wonder. In his last ten he’s only surrendered 2 goals or less twice. His season save percentage is .921 (before today) and in his last ten he has only one game of a save percentage higher then that mark, the game against New Jersey which turned out to be a loss. It’s obvious that for the Rangers to quickly right the ship Hank is going to need to stand on his head nightly.
I’ve also been preaching to you guys that the Wolski – Stepan – Zuccarello line is the best line this Rangers team has right now, and Torts has been breaking them up constantly until today where he consistently had them out on shifts together and that line accounted for both of the Rangers goals in the game, not surprisingly to this fan.
Dubinsky and Callahan need to get going and be the gamebreakers they were in the beginning of the season.
Avery needs more ice time with more competent linemates.
Boyle and Prust need less ice time.
Christensen needs to find a new team to play for.
Prospal is old, and he looks old out there.
I’m very curious to see who the Rangers bring up to replace Gaborik in the lineup. It’s got to be a scoring winger so my bet is on either Kolarik or Grachev.
To bad at the beginning of the season they decided to send Kennedy to the Whale over Todd White (Remember them?) because Kennedy would be a good spark plug for this team right now, and there’s no doubt he’d be lost on re-entry waivers if the Rangers tried to bring him up now. If I’m Sather and company I’d go with Grachev and put him in a scoring role, see what he’s got at the NHL level and if he can provide anything to the team. No word yet who the call up is but I’ll have my eye on it for you guys.
All in all, what else can you say? Since the emotional 1-0 win over Vancouver at the Garden the Rangers are 5 – 10 – 1. Not the record you’d expect from a team coming off a huge win over the then best team in the NHL. Not the record from a team chasing the playoffs and appearing they might fall out looking at missing a shot in the second season for the second consecutive year. Not the record you want to see from your team ever.
Also, the Rangers not getting a power play the whole game? What is that? Against the Flyers too. Not sure about that one. Could be seen as a good thing though considering the power play we have been treated to so far this season.
Absolutely HUGE road games coming up against the Hurricanes (Tuesday) and Capitals (Friday) and a home game against the Lightning (Sunday). These three games are the only 3 games remaining before the trade deadline on next Monday.
Expect a trade deadline preview on Wednesday or Thursday (here on http://adamgav68.wordpress.com/) and a game preview of the Canes game on Monday or Tuesday.
I’m expecting Grachev to be called up for the game, and if I had to take a shot at lines…
WW – Step – Zucc
Dubi – Christensen – Grachev
Avery – Anisimov – Callahan
Prospal – Boyle – Prust
Even further, that’s exactly what classic Devils Rangers looked like.
Even further, that’s exactly what a system like Jaque Lemaire’s can make a goalie look like. This defensive trap, four in the neutral zone is going to earn Marty Broduer best goalie ever honor’s while goalie’s like Scott Clemmenson and Johan Hedberg can step into the system and face 15 shots for the easiest shutout of their career.
It was a joke watching the game yesterday towards the end when the Devils were playing dump and chase and falling into a formation that looked sort of like this…
Wow I think that’s a much bigger picture then I wanted…
But hey, I’m not here to fault the guy who has developed a system so perfect for winning hockey games that the Devils are 15-1-2 in their last 18 and surging back into the playoff race making it look easy.
I’m here to fault the guy that never seems to have a gameplan to match other teams. The guy whose so stubborn that he can’t adjust his game to another team and it ends up costing the Rangers 2 big points in the standings.
It’s not like it was a surprise what the Devils were trying to do last night. Wait for the Rangers to make a mistake, capitalize, get a goal and shut it down the rest of the way. I knew it, you knew it, every Rangers fan who had ever watched a Rangers Devils game knew it…so what was Tortorella thinking?
Thanks to the lockout the trap is beatable, in many ways the trap is beatable. But what the Rangers on the ice were trying to accomplish last night was not the right way to beat the trap.
For example, you can carry the puck through the neutral zone in layers which opens up passing lanes and make quick decisions and passes to get past the “forecheckers” and carry it into the d-zone. The Rangers did not do this yesterday.
Or, you could dump it in and bang bodies hard, now this makes sense because that’s what the Rangers have been doing all season and it is doubly effective against the trap. Dump it in and bang bodies, wear the defenseman out, grind hard behind the net and try to get ugly goals. You know who was doing this last night? Sean Avery. Avery had a shift early in the third period with Gaborik and Christensen and they were really cycling the puck well behind the net and trying to create chances, but after that shift I don’t think Avery saw the ice again, and he definitely didn’t see the ice again with Gaborik.
Also with Avery, not sure why Tortorella didn’t put Sean on the ice to live inside Kovalchuk during the game. That’s the matchup in Rangers Devils. Kovalchuk may be Avery’s favorite target (behind Fatso) and it’s amazing how easily he can get Kovalchuk off of his game and into the box for 2 or more minutes. Don’t think I saw Avery and Kovalchuk on the ice at the same time during the game, again a coaching mistake in my mind.
But sometimes you have to kick it up to just being one of those nights, and maybe last night was one of them…but I don’t think so. Last night was such a winnable game it’s an absolute travesty the Rangers couldn’t leave New Jersey with at least a point in their pocket to head into Sunday’s matinee against the Flyers.
Remember boys and girls, Renney was fired at 31-23-7. Check the standings, Rangers are 31-25-4 and falling away from a possible playoff berth and facing two straight years of no second season.
As for the Sunday matinee against the Flyers, well, I’m not too confident.
First off it’s an afternoon game and I believe the Rangers are 1-5 in games that start before 5 pm.
It’s also a Sunday home game and I don’t think the Rangers record in their heritage jerseys is all that great either.
And finally, it’s the Flyers, the best team in the east. And not only is it the Flyers, but it’s the Flyers who absolutely have the Rangers number so far this season. Rangers are 0-3 so far against the Flyers and have been outscored 11-4 in those games. So again, color me not so confident.
However this could be one of those games that THESE (New) New York Rangers come out firing on all cylinders. If last night is any indication Hank is back as he was absolutely stellar in net. Last night would’ve been a prime example of a goalie stealing a game for the team.
So what are we going to have tomorrow? Typical NYR let down matinee game, or new NYR coming out hard and banging bodies, getting dirty and clawing their way to two points in the standings…Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Gametime is 12 (so puck will probably drop at 1230) on NBC.
Standings before tonight’s games…
On the scoreboard tonight NYR needs…
Devils over Hurricanes
Oilers over Thrashers
Lightning over Panthers
But like usual, most importantly, the Rangers need to find ways to stack points on their behalf however they can.
God, the titles I come up with…seriously, I’m a genius.
Post-game last night Tortorella came up with what may be the quote of the season, what may be the quote of the since he asked Brooksie if he was beat up at the bus stop as a kid. Simply put, Tortorella said that “this team has balls” and in certain aspects he’s right, but in other aspects I’d have to disagree with the coach. Hopefully with the summation of the game you read below you’ll be able to figure out where I agree and where I do not.
In recent games including their losing streak, and now new winning streak, the Rangers have seemed to have an impossible ability in holding a lead. Last night was no different. In the game the Rangers took a 2-1 and 3-2 lead and relinquished both of them allowing the Kings to grab a point and have the ability to steal 2 on the road as we’ve watched the Rangers successfully accomplish 17 times this season.
Gaborik makes it 2-1, and the Rangers give away the lead 1:40 later. Anisimov makes it 3-2, Kings come back and tie it 47 seconds later. This third goal coincidentally is the only goal I’m going to blame on Henrik last night. He seemed to lose focus of where the puck was at a very inopportune time and we as fans had to watch Dustin Brown bank it off of Hank behind the net and into the goal. It was a terrible thing to see, so late in the game after such a huge goal by Anisimov. Also, not exactly sure why that goal is being credited to Anisimov as he clearly never touched the puck, Dubinsky robbed of his 20th goal. But back to Hank. Had a pretty heated debate with my brother during the game about the thoughts of goalies and deflections where we disagreed completely. He was blaming Hank for being weak on deflections all year and I think more deflections that end up saved are luck rather then the goalie being able to anticipate and react. The dude is human, it’s impossible to react to that kind of directional change at that pace. Especially on the Kings third goal last night. A point shot from Matt Greene who hadn’t scored in 73 games before tonight. Henrik has the shot lined up and there are no LA players in the lane. However there are two Rangers in the lane, Boyle and Avery, and they both get lazy and throw their sticks into the shooting lanes to try and block the puck. Now if I’m Lundqvist here the last thing I am anticipating is a deflection when only my guys are in the shooting lane. I’m expecting them to either put their bodies in front of it or get out of the way so I can see it, not throw their stick at it (not sure if it hit Aves or Boyle) and deflect it right by me.
Yes Henrik is slumping, but no he has not relinquished his elite status in the NHL. He’s gonna be a huge part of the Rangers push to the playoffs.
Onto some other stuff from the game…
I don’t like Stepan on the wing…I don’t, he’s going to be a center in this league as he has the two way game that compliments that position perfectly, he’s not built for the wing and it’s detrimental in my opinion to keep switching him up.
I also don’t like Zuccarello being wasted. Every shift he’s out there you notice him so I’m not sure why his minutes have dwindled although it does speak to the fact that a lot of Rangers forwards are going and going well right now.
Avery aside from the laziness in the defensive end that led to the Kings third goal was really going last night too. As I tweeted yesterday the FSN LA cameras panned to Avery as he was yelling down the bench when the Rangers were down 1-0 to wake up and start playing. At first I thought he was yelling at someone specifically but I think it makes more sense if he was yelling at the whole bench. Not too surprisingly the Rangers tied the game shortly after that.
Everyone still want to trade Gaborik? Didn’t think so.
I think Prospal’s speed, or lack thereof, is becoming a problem on the Rangers forward corps. A lot of the time it looks like he just can’t keep up with the likes of Dubi and Gabby on his wings. However I think this is due to him still trying to get his legs under him and get back up to speed. I’m not worried about Prospal. Speaking of Dubi though, he’s been taking some pretty terrible penalties lately, he needs to stay aggressive but he needs to do it the right way. Every other part of Dubi’s game is going right now but he needs to know how to be aggressive the right way.
Callahan has been an absolute animal recently. Soon when you think Rangers, and you think how the Rangers want to portray themselves, the type of game the Rangers want to play you’re going to think of Ryan Callahan. Want to make the NHL? Watch a DVD of Callahan highlights.
Zuccarello and Christensen are insane in the shootout. Christensen pulling of the Forsberg and Zucc doing his thing. They’re fun to watch in that part of the game as much as that part of the game sucks. Where was Zuccarello in Philadelphia last season?
Del Zotto – Gilroy maintains their status as the worst defensive pairing in the NHL.
McDonagh – Sauer continues to become a fantastic middle pairing for the Rangers as it becomes more…and more…and more obvious as I have been preaching here on wordpress that the Rangers need for another veteran defenseman is monumental. Kaberle was dealt to Boston today, so he’s off the list. My list of the Rangers trade deadline targets is…McCabe and Montador. McCabe is a good veteran presence and not afraid to shoot which will help the PP. Montador would be a great steady presence to have on a third pairing.
It was great to see the Rangers show off their balls last night and come away with two points and get a streak going as they march into New Jersey tonight.
Going to be Hank VS Hedberg tonight, no Brodeur for the surging Devils as he is injured (again) and not able to start. Marty will be on the bench to back up Hedberg tonight though as far as I know.
Same thing goes for the Devils as for the last time the Rangers faced off against them. They’re the same Devils that we all know and hate, not the Devils from earlier this season. To make the playoffs the Devils are going to need to pull off some crazy record in their last 25 games like 20-5. It would be a great, and I mean a GREAT feeling to be able to dish the Devils a loss here and put them 20% closer to missing the playoffs for the first time in forever. Also wouldn’t hurt to start pulling away from the pack here with 2 more points in the Rangers pocket.
I love the fact that Torts is going right back to Hank tonight, especially against a team who he has absolutely dominated in his young career. If Hank can come in to tonight’s game and play the way he plays, maybe he gets a little confidence going and gets off the “slump” he’s experiencing right now.
It’s also going to be great to watch hank respond to the Devils as the last time the Rangers played them (a 3-2 loss) Hank was yanked in the second period after giving up all 3 goals on just 12 shots. I think we’re in for a goaltending treat tonight.
Here’s a shot of the standings before tonight’s games…
On the scoreboard the Rangers could use a Flyers win over the Hurricanes
Blues over Sabres
Red Wings over Panthers
Of course, none of that matters with two points in New Jersey tonight!
Puck drops at 7 pm in Jersey on MSG, enjoy the game everyone
What an inconsistent schedule. Feels like forever since the Rangers last game, a win over Pittsburgh on Sunday. But don’t get used to that as the Rangers start tonight 3 games in 3.5 days with back to backs tonight against the Kings and tomorrow in New Jersey and the Sunday matinee game against the Flyers.
But for today we focus on tonight. Other teams are gaining ground on the Rangers while the teams ahead of them pull away. It’s time that the Rangers start taking 2 points from every game. Every game is a game 7 and losing now could be the difference between playing in that second season and sitting on the sidelines watching.
Judging by the optional skate this morning it seems as if Tortorella is going with Henrik in net tonight. A bit odd if you ask me with the clustered schedule coming up, but I think the more work he gets the better he plays and Henrik has had enough rest so far this week to handle the load that should be coming his way. I see no reason to put Marty in net against the surging Devils as well as no reason to put Marty in net against the Flyers. In my opinion tonight was the logical place to give Marty a start, and again he may start as Torts has neither denied nor confirmed Lundqvist being in net. That word I’m sure we’ll get when he meets the media at 5 so keep checking twitter for those updates.
From the morning optional Wolski also said that he’d be ready to go tonight but ultimately that falls on Torts and I think he’s going to stick with Newbury for tonight and not risk losing Wolski early in the game and playing a forward short.
If I had to take a shot at lines…
But again just my thought, no sure bet on those either.
As far as tonight however the Kings come into the Garden absolutely on fire. 8-0-2 in their last ten and on a three game winning streak they’re a tough team to handle right now, and they’re hungry. The Western Conference is an absolute crapshoot right now. Teams placed 4th through 8th are all tied with 68 points. The Kings sit in 9th with 67 points, only two points out from making the jump from 9th in the conference to third with the Pacific Division lead so you know what’s going to be on their mind tonight.
Kings also played last night in Columbus so usually how this works out is that the team that played the night before comes out hard, so the Rangers need to be ready for that and handle the storm that comes their way in the first period. Hopefully after that the Rangers can grind out a good effort and walk away with 2 points, whether it comes in regulation or OT tonight doesn’t matter as giving the Kings a point won’t hurt the Rangers playoff chances (obviously).
Here’s a quick shot of the standings before the games tonight…
Puck drops at 7pm on MSG and NHL network (hoping for a Rangers feed here).
If you’re watching the scoreboard too the Rangers need..
Coyotes over the Thrashers
Oilers over Canadiens
Sharks over Capitals
Enjoy the game everyone!