So we get a lot of questions on Twitter, and it is unfortunate that we cannot always respond to every question. In an attempt to address the most popular questions, we are going to start with these “Twitter Bag” posts, where we answer some of the more consistent questions we get on Twitter. We love addressing these, so keep them coming, and we will do everything we can to answer each question sent to us.
Q: Why is Stu Bickel playing still? Wouldn’t Jeff Woywitka or Steve Eminger have a better effect?
A: It’s tough to really say why Bickel is still in the lineup. He played better on Saturday with double the normal amount of ice time, but his usual three minutes don’t really give him an opportunity to be a difference maker. Tortorella likes him because of his physical ability, which is something that neither Woywitka nor Eminger really have. Eminger is ahead of Woywitka on the depth chart, so we can essentially eliminate Woywitka from the occasion (barring injury). In terms of ability, Eminger is a marginally better skater than Bickel, but it is clear Torts likes the latter. I think the club can benefit from having someone like Eminger take more than three minutes of ice time, but only if Torts trusts him to do so.
Q: Why did Torts bench Chris Kreider? Isn’t that sending the wrong message?
A: I’m in the minority that agrees with the benching. The club is in a tough spot of trying to teach the kid on the fly while winning games in the playoffs. That turnover –and Hank’s flub– was the direct cause of the goal. Every other youngster that Torts has coached has seen significant time on the bench when similar mistakes are made. It would be a coaching inconsistency to not bench Kreider. Lesson learned. He won’t do it again.
Q: What is wrong with the powerplay?
A: This is a tough question to answer. With Saturday being the exception, the Rangers powerplay hasn’t looked terrible, but they have two problems. The first is that they aren’t shooting enough, and when they are, they aren’t taking quality shots. The second is that they are prone to standing still. That’s less of a coaching problem and more of a personnel problem. The players need to know when to shoot. They also need to learn that a static powerplay is easy to defend. Personally, I’d like to see Carl Hagelin and/or Chris Kreider on the powerplay to see what they can do. Even if it’s just them doing dirty work along the boards –like Hagelin does for Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik at even strength– it will go a long way to helping with the man advantage.
Q: Will Alex Ovechkin get suspended for his hit on Dan Girardi?
A: No, he won’t. The general inconsistencies and excuses the league has given when it comes to suspensions is laughable. The precedent was set by Ovechkin when he was suspended for three games for leaving his feet to deliver a check. This hit was in the same mold. The NHL suspends by the result, not by the action. Girardi wasn’t hurt and didn’t miss a shift. There won’t be a suspension.
Q: What do the Rangers need to win this series?
A: More shots from Gaborik.