There is no denying it, the Rangers are a difficult team to watch right now. While the defensive ineptitude has been mitigated for the most part as players learn their new roles in AV’s system, the offense has continued to be putrid. We can point to various injuries plaguing the top-6, the inexperience of the kids we expect to step in and soften the blow of those injuries, or the glut of semi-useful bottom-6 guys that are having expectations ramped up to levels that their abilities can’t back up.
We talk about depth quite a bit around here. It seems that since the season started, and more importantly, the losing started, the definition seems to have gotten lost. When we refer to depth, we talk about the ability to either 1) plug holes in the lineup in the case of injury, or 2) have multiple players that can play different roles in different situations, allowing the rest of the personnel to be deployed optimally. No team can absorb the type of high-end losses the Rangers have and expect the depth to cover. Imagine if Boston lost Lucic, Marchand and Bergeron all at once? While maybe not fatal, it would be an uncomfortable time in Beantown.
As New Yorkers, we feel a comfortable attachment to knee-jerk reactions and placing immediate blame for circumstances that disappoint us. We have countless sports radio talking heads, muck-raking beat writers and multiple boroughs full of people who like to shoot their mouth off around the water-cooler about their favorite teams. They conveniently disregard things such as sample-sizes, available resources, advanced statistics and other useful analytical tools to appropriately determine what has gone wrong in a given situation. It’s much easier to assign blame to an overly-simplistic and often erroneous source, or to simply play armchair GM.
Read more »
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
I’m not as high-tech as Dave is, so you don’t get pictures tonight. Not that you wanted them…
Well, that was fun. The Rangers dropped a laugher tonight to the Devils in Newark by a score of 4-0. Let’s break down the ineptitude…
Devils 1, Rangers 0
This play started in the offensive zone, where Derick Brassard made an ill-advised pass through the middle attempting to find John Moore at the point. Instead, the pass was picked and the Devils went to work in the Rangers’ zone. As the cycle progressed behind the net, Moore got caught wandering and failed to pick up his man. Hank provided a juicy rebound and Andrei Loktionov was left all alone in front to net his first of the year.
Devils 2, Rangers 0
The Suit and I found ourselves in a little disagreement over this one on Twitter. Girardi committed to a questionable pinch, and a nice pass by Jagr saw Adam Henrique streak behind Darrell Powe and Girardi along the boards. Henrique sped in an ripped a shot over Lundqvist’s blocker on the short side. Suit thought Hank should have had it, I thought it was just a nice shot. Anyone care to weigh in? Read more »
Happy Friday BSB’ers! Just wanted to throw out a friendly reminder that our first live chat of the season will be held today at 2:30pm. There’s plenty to talk about, so stop by up to 15 min before hand to submit your questions, complaints, rants, etc. See everyone this afternoon!
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
As we all know by now, the Rangers have gotten off to a slow start this season. One of the more surprising factors in Blueshirt’s early malaise was the rather pedestrian play of all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. It wasn’t necessarily that he was playing outright badly, just far below the lofty expectations that the fan base has for #30. After posting his first shutout of the year in Washington on Wednesday night, the fan base was able to relax a bit about the form of our number-one keeper.
Buried in a quality post-game piece by Pat Leonard of the Daily News, Hank was quoted as making a small but significant adjustment to his game for the tilt in Washington: he took an extra step out from the goal line for positioning purposes. Hank was quoted on the subject as follows:
“It was more on face-offs I took a step out. My positioning on the ‘D’ shots was a little bit better. A couple times in the early games I got caught deep in my net. That’s the way I play, but there’s been a lot of deflections, (so) you want to come out a little bit more, and today it worked for me.”
Read more »
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
To say the Rangers have gotten off to a rough start this season would be an understatement. The Kings game aside, the Blueshirts have been thoroughly de-pantsed by some of the Western Conference’s finest over the past few games. After spending all summer telling my wife (who knows an awful lot about the game) how excited I was about AV’s arrival and the potential for this team to be really successful this season, she pointedly asked me last night, “what the hell is wrong with them?”. I was at something of a loss.
Earlier this week, The Suit splendidly broke down AV’s systems and got us all up to speed on what we should be expecting out of the Ranger players this season. But this malaise goes much deeper than simply adjusting to the system. They are making serious fundamental hockey errors, as opposed to systems errors.
Read more »
Norm Hull/Getty Images
Last night, the Rangers lost their 2013-2014 opener in Phoenix. It was neither pretty nor particularly encouraging. Sure, there were some bright spots; Brad Richards showed signs of life, Marc Staal looked great and the defense as a whole looked much more active in the offensive zone.
Since the pre-season started, the staff here at BSB has been preaching patience. There has been a ton of upheaval even though there was very little roster turnover from last year’s team. Not only has there been the difficulty of a coaching change and all new systems implementation, but the Blueshirts start the season on a 9-game road trip.
Derek Stepan got a late start on camp due to his contract situation and two top-6 forwards in Callahan and Hagelin are out to start the season; not to mention the disappointing camp from Chris Kreider.
Read more »
According to Elliotte Friedman, Derek Stepan and the New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a 2-year deal. The value is estimated in the $6.5 million range, but is yet unconfirmed. Looks like Sather got his bridge deal, after all. Welcome back Step, now get to work.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Since the emergence of Henrik Lundqvist during the 2005-2006 season, many Ranger fans haven’t put much thought into the future between the pipes. Fast forward eight years later, Hank is still only 31 years-old and likely to sign a 7-8 year extension within the next 12 months. The stability The King provides has masked (no pun intended?) a rather glaring organization weakness: depth in goal.
Although its only been two preseason games, Cam Talbot has been impressive the first long-look of his career. Although the numbers are nothing to write home about (3.21 GAA, .875 Sv%), he has looked closer to NHL-ready than anything we’ve seen from the Rangers’ goaltending prospects in some time. This has prompted a discussion about Marty Biron’s future and contemplating a world where we can off-set some of Hank’s raise with a cheap backup. In this spirit of this curiosity, I thought I’d take a closer look at Mr. Talbot’s background and overall game.
Read more »
It signs the contract or else it gets the hose again.
Up until pre-season games start up in earnest, the fan focus around Rangerland will continue to be Derek Stepan’s unresolved contract situation. The boys around here have done a fantastic job covering the specifics, comparables and negotiating leverage surrounding the Blueshirt’s final RFA, but I wanted to examine a slightly different facet: the gaping hole in the CBA that lead to this situation to begin with.
The age in which a player signs his ELC will determine whether or not he is eligible for arbitration rights during his RFA years. Depending on how long the ELC is, a player could foreseeably have two years (though, usually just one) of RFA eligibility without receiving arbitration rights. This essentially means a player is allowed to seek “market” value (compared to other team-controlled players with no arbitration rights), but is still somewhat at the whim of the team’s valuation, with very little negotiating leverage. Read more »