It seems sacrilegious to call him out, but even Ryan Callahan must elevate his game
As is always the case when the Rangers are struggling, fans, players and the media alike are all searching for answers to the team’s woes. And though everything from bad puck luck to injuries has been a factor, coach Alain Vigneault hit the nail on the head yesterday when he put much of the blame for the team’s poor start on its underperforming core members.
“If we are going to get some traction and get past that .500 level, we need our top players to consistently play like top players,” Vigneault told Andrew Gross. “Not a period in, a period out. Not a game in, a game out. We need that core group, the leaders of this group, to perform accordingly. And we have not done that on a consistent basis and on a game to game basis. Just look at our lineup, look at our core group and look at our key guys and there’s the answer.”
Vigneault couldn’t be more right in his assessment of the team 28 games into the year. Because as much as fans like to argue about what Michael Del Zotto might fetch in a trade or which youngster should play a handful of minutes a game in place of Taylor Pyatt and Benoit Pouliot, it’s highly unlikely that any such substitution would have a major impact on the team. Maybe J.T. Miller, Dylan McIlrath and Danny Kristo will re-join the Rangers this year and maybe not, but the Blueshirts certainly can’t count on any of the unproven prospects within the organization to arrive and turn the season around. The team has already gotten a surprise shot in the arm from Chris Kreider, and even that hasn’t been enough. Read more »
Like Chris Kreider did, J.T. Miller needs more time in Hartford
With apologies to Taylor Pyatt, the forward roster last night finally resembled the one Ranger fans were so excited about over the summer.
The lineup didn’t include J.T. Miller, but coach Alain Vigneault insisted yesterday that Miller would be back on the ice with the Blueshirts soon. But barring further injuries, the team’s top-six is clearly set, and Miller will likely be stuck with fourth-line minutes even when he does play.
In fact, Miller hasn’t played more than 9:14 in any of his last six games dating back to November 2, just after Carl Hagelin’s return. In the nine games before that, Miller had averaged 13:17, a pretty big number for a young player. But as Hagelin, Ryan Callahan, Dominic Moore and finally Rick Nash were reinserted into the lineup, Miller’s ice-time dipped lower and lower until he was finally sent to the press box. Read more »
Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial hockey rock, then you at least heard something about the Ray Emery/Braden Holtby incident from a few weeks back. For those of you who didn’t, here’s the short version: during a 7-0 drubbing of the Flyers at the hands of Washington, a scrum ensued down in the Caps’ end. Clearly frustrated, Ray Emery decided to skate the length of the ice and viciously pummel a clearly unwilling Braden Holtby. It was disgusting and deserved supplemental discipline. However, Brendan Shanahan was unable to cite authority in the rulebook granting him the right to impose further punishment on Sugar Ray.
Fast forward to last week, where it became known that the NHL powers-that-be were going to discuss the incident at the GM meetings in Toronto. The only hitch, they were talking about banning goalie fights. Wait, what?
Contrary to the title of this post, this piece actually has nothing to do with goalies. The only thing that makes goalies relevant to this discussion is that it’s the position Emery and Holtby happen to play, and the league is taking this ridiculous stance to solve the problem. So, let me get this straight: a willing combatant assaults a completely unwilling combatant, beats him senseless and the solution is, to ban goalie fighting? Read more »
You know the dogs days of hockey’s offseason are here when bloggers start grasping for proverbial straws with odd trade proposals and anxiety over the 2014 UFA list. This week I’ve already read three posts that made me want to delete my hockey bookmarks until at least preseason and it’s only Tuesday.
If you haven’t been following the latest happenings on Twitterd, a Flames blog has been kicking the tires on trading for Marc Staal, who they referred to as a “decent asset” and believe could be had for “pennies on the dollar.” Our friends at Bleacher Report think MZA could be one of the best players in the NHL if only he were bigger! For the record, sources say The Zoltar machine at Playland is still out-of-order. Bummer. I was looking forward to seeing MZA go toe-to-toe with Crosby and Ovie next season.
Anyway, last but not least, Brooksie is bemoaning Sather’s reluctance to re-sign Lundqvist and Cally to new deals, you know because July is right around the corner. Yup, it’s officially August.
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Chuck Myers/Getty Images
For reasons unbeknownst to me, some members of the national media seem to be under the impression that Henrik Lundqvist has been a failure as a playoff goaltender.
I could understand that sentiment a little prior to last season, but a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012 should have quashed any conversation about Lundqvist’s postseason struggles.
Instead, an ugly stat had been making the rounds – Lundqvist has allowed three or more goals in 29 of his 58 playoff starts – and a suspect goal off the stick of Jason Chimera in Game One brought some of Lundqvist’s old critics out of the woodwork. Read more »
This is not how the Rangers have successfully developed prospects in recent years
The Rangers’ recent success has made Chris Kreider a forgotten man, but the handling of Kreider has been the most disappointing aspect of the 2013 season.
You can’t blame the 21-year-old for hitting a bump in the road, but the organization’s treatment of its prized winger has been a mess since the season-opener. Kreider got off to a miserable start with the
Connecticut Whale Hartford Wolf Pack, where Kreider was asked to begin learning the Rangers’ system at the sacrifice of his offense. He posted just five goals and seven assists in 34 games and was struggling on both ends of the ice.
But Kreider was still handed a job out of training camp because the Rangers were very short on forwards and because, in case you forgot, he scored five goals right out of college for the Blueshirts in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This raised so many eyebrows that Chad Kolarik was rumored to have requested a trade due to this decision.
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“Shortening goalie pads is more important to me than this “concussion” nonsense”.
Every once in a while, something happens in the hockey world that compels me to get up on my soapbox and rant about it. The last time this happened, it was the heated debate over the Milan Lucic/Ryan Miller hit. That one helped get me a gig writing for BSB, so unfortunately for all of you, it has emboldened me to stand up on that box once again…
Goalies are getting in the way. Their entire existence is devoted to removing the most exciting play in hockey: the goal. Everyone wants more scoring; the league, the fans, the analysts. Casual fans get into 7-6 barn burners way more easily than 1-0, tightly checked, defense-first games. Ever since Lockout II in ‘04-‘05, the league has looked for ways to improve goal scoring to broaden hockey’s appeal.
They have toyed with wider, bowed-out nets, they have limited the goalie’s ability to play the puck, and implemented a wide range of physical limitations on the size of the equipment goalies wear. Most famously, limiting the width of leg pads from 12” to 11” (which, was a good thing). Not to mention the breathtakingly long list of proposed improvements that the NHL has not allowed for, and incremental disallowance of many commonly used protective features, which could, in theory*, give the goalie an undeserved advantage.
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As I mentioned yesterday, we here at Blue Seat Blogs like to dig deep and cover the Rangers from a very analytical level. Sometimes that’s systems posts, other times that’s advanced stats post, other times it’s scouting report-type posts. Today we wanted to go a different direction and get off our high horse. We reached out to one of our frequent readers, Vince Rosalia, to step back and give you all an overview of the Rangers from a fan perspective. We hope you enjoy.
Man, this team is done. From the coach on down everyone just sucks (except Nash and maybe Cally). We need to get rid of Gaborik, he is just a bum. Can you believe he only had two assists the other night? Please, it was the power play, so it hardly counts. He is only number two on the team in scoring, a whole two points behind Nash!
I don’t care if Gabby’s tied for the top goal scorer on the team for the second year running (as of Monday). It is clear Gabby is done and there is no chance of him picking it up this season. His current pace of 17 goals is a total loss. We had better trade him for top talent while we can. I mean, I am a commenter on a blog, so I know more than a GM and his scouts would.
And look at Kreider, he sucks too. It was clear from the small sampling of last year’s playoffs that he was one of the next numbers to be raised to the MSG rafters. But now he is destroyed due to Torts constantly berating him. I mean, we haven’t heard Torts trash him, and he has even said to the media that the kid is just learning and is fine, but WE know what is really going on behind the scenes and Torts is just feeding us lines.
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With the season on the brink of destruction, and the loyalty of the fans wavering, the NHL is going to need to come up with some very creative marketing schemes to get fans back in the stands. I, along with many others, am fed up with the game of chicken that is going on in the negotiating room, and am particularly fed up with Jeremy Jacobs and his all-or-nothing tactics.
Don’t get me wrong, both sides are to blame for this mess, but it’s the owners and the league as a whole that will need to come up with ways to get back in the stands. Right now they assume we will all be back if and when the puck drops, and I pray that I am not the only one that will boycott and not spend a cent of my own money on the NHL.
Side note: I say I won’t spend a cent of my own money, but if someone wants to buy me tickets, I’ll gladly go. It’s not my money at that point. See? I can make loopholes too.
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Apathy is worse than anger.
We’ve heard all of the arguments from the owners. We’ve heard all of the arguments from the players. They all point to one conclusion: Neither side truly cares about the fans. If they did, they would set egos aside and get a deal done. But they don’t, so we sit and wait while they cancel November and the Winter Classic.
But the emotions let out by the fans, those are the ones that are changing.
When the lockout began, fans were angry. When October was canceled, the fans were angry. When November was canceled, the fans were really angry. The sides aren’t that far off, and it is clear that egos have gotten in the way of true business decisions. Neither side wants to lose, but in collective bargaining, neither side ever wins. Both sides know the obvious deal to be had, but neither wants to put it on the table.
And now the Winter Classic is gone. But also gone are the angry tweets. Also gone are the angry responses. Also gone are the petitions. Also gone are the angry blog posts. Also gone is the trust. What remains is apathy.
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