As I’ve been known to do sometimes, I’m going to ignore the work of my esteemed co-writers (in this case, Kevin) and offer my thoughts on a landmark day in Rangerland. So, if you’re not looking for more analysis of the Trade Deadline, tough. Read it any way. Here’s my thoughts on Wednesday’s trade deadline activity, mostly Cally, but other thoughts as well.
- As much as I want to be upset and nostalgic about Cally’s departure, I’ve been unable to muster it. After hearing Cally’s post-trade comments, coupled with the fact that when push came to shove he was unwilling to come down from his unrealistic (for any team but Buffalo) contract demands, it became all business for me.
- I was very encouraged by the first appearance by Marty St. Louis. He was aggressive, involved and looked very dangerous. He did appear to be trying a little too hard to bury one in his first appearance. I think he’s going to help balance out the Top-6 and give the team three dangerous looks to throw at opposition defense. Read more »
He will be signed (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Chris is still MIA, so if you happen to be walking through the city and see a lost Welschman, please direct him back to his laptop so that he can continue writing the musings. I know you like his ramblings more than mine. But for now you will need to make do with me.
- This whole Ryan Callahan thing is getting blown out of proportion. Take a step back, read my post this morning, and realize that no team that is a legit contender trades their captain. This is just the media hyping things to sell page views, in my humble opinion.
- No one has really mentioned Dan Girardi in a while, but that’s likely because he is getting overshadowed by Cally. Hey, I’m all for that. One less rumor to continually write about until my fingers bleed.
- I am sticking with my prediction: Girardi re-signs before the roster freeze, and Cally before the trade deadline. I know that doesn’t give me much room for error, since the roster freeze is tomorrow, but I am sticking to it.
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The Rangers probably won’t win the Stanley Cup this year – but their chances would go from slim to almost none without Ryan Callahan
Unfortunately, we were not able to get the goal breakdown last night since Dave was traveling for work, Chris was traveling for pleasure, Suit had a hockey game, Becky was working late, etc, etc. Check back later this afternoon for an abbreviated recap.
One of the chief arguments for trading Ryan Callahan and/or Dan Girardi is that the Rangers aren’t a contender this year even with those veterans on board, so the team should trade one or both to set itself up for the future.
The organization has made it very clear that winning now is the goal, a philosophy many pessimistic fans don’t agree with because they don’t see the roster as talented enough to take home the ultimate prize. To me, that’s the wrong way of looking at it.
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- You got questions. The Suit has answers.
Happy Monday Rangers fans. I hope everyone had a fun and safe Super Bowl Sunday. We received a few good questions over the past few weeks, so hopefully I can provide some good answers as the Rangers continue their push towards the playoffs.
You’ve written that the Rangers play an ‘overload defense’ but NBC continues to label the Rangers as team that plays man-on-man coverage, which is it?
When it comes to defensive zone coverages, a lot of coaches just don’t want their clubs playing one way anymore. Alain Vigneault is one of those coaches. Without getting too repetitive, as I’ve covered this before, AV has our boys playing an overload defense when the puck is along the half wall. However, when the puck ends up down low, they switch to man-on-man. Recognizing the overload vs. man-on-man vs. zone isn’t too hard to spot.
The overload has defenses outnumbering the opposition (e.g., 3-on-2, 2-on-1) in certain parts of the ice. Man-on-man coverages mean players defend evenly and will follow their check. There is often a lot of movement around the slot, almost resembling a cyclone with guys swirling everywhere. Zone means skaters will defend a patch of ice, so defenses end up looking like a more static geometric shape (e.g., box+1, triangle+2, etc.).
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Last Sunday, instead of posting about happenings around the NHL, I was out on the field doing first hand work for a post. I shuffled up on the 4 train to Yankee Stadium not to watch the boys in pinstripes bat around and eat some delicious garlic fries, but instead, in the dead of winter, to watch some good old-fashioned pond hockey. Pond hockey on a baseball field, in front of 50,000 people. Big pond, eh?
The experience, from beginning to end, was absolutely incredible. Having not been lucky enough to experience the Winter Classic in 2012 in Philadelphia, I had no idea what to expect going in. Days of stalking the weather report didn’t do much justice – 5 degrees here or there means nothing when you’re debating 3 or 4 layers of leggings – especially when you’ve got to factor in adrenaline based on the amount of Henrique jerseys in the vicinity. Needless to say, the morning was filled with nervous excitement.
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Derek Dorsett could be a difference maker (Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)
The Rangers facd the toughest possible opponent tonight. When an elite team like the Blues head to town fresh off a mauling, they will be conscious of stopping the rot before it starts. This will be a great benchmark game for the Rangers. Can they go toe to toe with a contender? Can they put behind them their own disappointing game? Tonight’s game is the definition of a character test.
Kevin Klein’s arrival meant the end of Michael Del Zotto, but does it also signal the end of Anton Stralman? Stralman is reported to be looking for $3 million plus at season’s end, despite being distinctly average for the most of this year. Would the Rangers be willing to lock up what are essentially two third pair guys for what would be $3 million each?
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After Tuesday’s disappointing and above all unnecessary loss to the Lightning, the Rangers take on Detroit tonight. Absolutely there for the taking, the Rangers need to avoid a let down game against the Wings who are depleted and not what they were a couple years back. Let’s hit the musings for the first time in a while shall we?
Careful what you wish for: For all the moaning and concerns about the Rangers start to the year, consider the state of the Wings franchise right now. A squad with a few core aging players (think Alfredsson, Kronwall, Bertuzzi, Samuelsson and Cleary) and not a huge amount coming through their system (relatively speaking, of course). The Rangers on the other hand are younger, with a pipeline that while not chock full of talent is far from empty. The Rangers could be in a lot worse shape compared to many teams in the league.
Just when you thought he’d turned a page, Michael Del Zotto has a major lapse in the Tampa loss. That’s why he is so frustrating; for all the good, there is always some bad just around the corner.
The Rangers MVP after the halfway mark? Ryan McDonagh. Undoubtedly without McDonagh, the defense – which has been in a state of flux all year anyway – would have been in big trouble. His offense is also developing quickly.
Talking contracts: How much can Ryan – I can’t stay healthy – Callahan really command and get come contract time? Is it possible that he demands more than the Rangers can offer?
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Girardi. (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Yesterday I was locked in a very interesting discussion on Twitter with Adam Herman (NYR Blog), Kevin Power (Blueshirt Banter), and George Ays (RangerSmurf) about the feasibility of a Rangers fire sale at this year’s trade deadline. Without getting into specifics of whether they should sell or they shouldn’t (it’s worth noting that the contract extension for Henrik Lundqvist all but locks the Rangers into win-now mode, whether you like it or not), the one thing we all agreed on is that the Rangers have a few pieces that could net them a really solid return.
There are two paths the Rangers could technically take when it comes to a fire sale:
- A complete blow up and rebuild, which would mean selling off as many assets as possible for picks and prospects. This would involve tanking, hoping to draft Connor McDavid in 2015, loading up on lottery picks, and using them to follow the path laid out by the Penguins and the Blackhawks. This would easily set the Rangers back at least five years in their Stanley Cup hopes. That said, tanking doesn’t always work. Just look at Edmonton and Columbus (and potentially Florida and the Islanders).
- Selling off assets with no future on the team in an effort to retool. This would likely mean selling off any player that the Rangers do not have in their long-term plan, or any player that could fetch them a king’s ransom at the deadline. This is the route that the Bruins took, and it worked out pretty well for them. This isn’t fool-proof either, but it also doesn’t have the five-year waiting period. A retooling would set the Rangers back 1-3 years, depending on the return and player development.
For the sake of this post, let’s assume that the Rangers would choose option #2, and retool the team.
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Franson could be NY bound (Photo: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
Welcome to Thursday. It’s finally time for another Musings (not that fake musings Dave did yesterday. What a bum). The Rangers have been better the past couple games without being very good. With plenty to muse over, let’s do it for the final time before the festive season kicks in.
As you’ll have seen; rumours are abound that the Leafs are considering Michael Del Zotto and Cody Franson may come the other way. From the Leafs perspective it doesn’t make sense. You’re essentially swapping one expiring contract for the other but giving up a bigger more productive player who’s better on his feet without being a great defenseman. Seems like a lot of trust in Del Zotto’s ability to turn the corner in his career.
Rick Nash. Oh, Rick Nash where art thou? He was invisible in the Penguins game – a game where I had previously said he needed to make a statement. It’s as simple as this: the Rangers cannot be successful long term unless Nash and Henrik Lundqvist are on or near the top of their games. Right now neither is close, hence the current position in the standings.
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A lot has been made about the coach’s apparent decision to sit Dylan McIlrath tonight against the Penguins. I understand both sides of the argument. If the kid is up in the NHL, he should play. But the kid has some glaring holes in his game, and putting him up against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Crosby’s isn’t exactly the best matchup for someone who has trouble skating. Then again, neither is Justin Falk.
My thought on this: If the kid isn’t going to play 8-10 minutes a night, then send him back to the AHL. AV is a fan of having kids sit in the press box to get a bird’s-eye view of the system he runs, but McIlrath has less than 100 pro games under his belt. He needs to develop the raw parts of his game in the AHL with top minutes. If he is going to play 8-10 minutes a night, then keep him here, because Falk sure isn’t getting the job done.
One more bit on McIlrath: He is far from NHL ready. I understand the need for a bruiser and a right-handed shot, but the kid has a few glaring holes that need to be fixed by Jeff Beukeboom in Hartford. The kid has made tremendous strides this year after a gruesome knee injury ruined last season. I’m big on this kid, but rushing him to fit a need doesn’t help in the long-term.
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