Search: prucha

Where are they now? Rangers edition

I was casually watching (a DVR of) some Saturday afternoon hockey between the Senators and the Coyotes when something struck me as strange; no, it wasn’t that all of the Sens goals came from not-your-average offensive player, it was that Lauri Korpikoski (or as I fondly call him, the Korpedo) got an assist. “Wow,” I thought aloud to myself, as I often do in my apartment, “the Korpedo is still alive? I wonder what other Rangers are still dabbling around the West.” And so, here is my post for today…

John Tortorella, Head Coach with the Rangers 2008-2013 | Now: Canucks Head Coach

Well, duh. Whether you loved or hated Torts’ exit last summer, you definitely had strong feelings about it. Awful with the media? Yep. Kind of mean to the players in public? Sure. Known for a hardcore training camp that would kill you or me? Absolutely. But still, for his time in New York, stats prove that you cannot deny his efficiency; in five seasons, he missed the playoffs once. However, his relationship with players, the media, and his lack of a championship ring on Broadway eventually shuttled him out and on his way to the Pacific Northwest. So, how is he now? Efficient. His Canucks have 48 points, winning 8 of their last 10 with one of those losses in OT. They were a bit shaky at first but it seems that they have adjusted to the system, and shockingly for many Rangers fans, the stars are responding and thriving under Torts’ hard-nosed approach. As a fan who was sad to see him go, I didn’t miss his outbursts like he showed at MSG against Alex Edler; however, it appears these guys can handle it. Hey, maybe Torts will find Musky in Vancouver, who knows.

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Five years later, BSB still going strong

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It wasn’t until late yesterday that I realized it was December 3rd, so suffice it to say it was a long day. But when I actually realized what day it was, I had one of those “oh crap” moments. It was a good “oh crap” moment, because I realized that the blog turned five years old yesterday. It’s amazing how fast time flies.

It was five years ago yesterday when my good friend Becky told me that I should start a blog. There weren’t many readable blogs at that point (maybe a handful), mostly because hockey wasn’t as popular as the other sports, so I decided to go for it. I reached out to friend of the blog Mike Axisa (of River Ave Blues) for advice on how to get things rolling. He was even kind enough to promote BSB on RAB (hooray three letter acronyms) a few times to get the word out, and to help write here to get the blog moving along.

In those times, I was happy to cross 100 hits per day. If I got a comment on a post I almost wet myself. I remember the first time I crossed 500 hits, and it was when Mike posted the first link to BSB in an RAB open thread. I had a celebratory beverage.

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Benoit Pouliot vs. Taylor Pyatt vs. J.T. Miller

Matt Slocum/AP

Matt Slocum/AP

As the season has progressed the biggest concern has been the play of some of the veterans, specifically Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Pyatt (when healthy), and why a player like J.T. Miller isn’t in the lineup instead. None of the three have been consistent enough to warrant a full time spot on the roster, and it can be argued that some have been bad enough to get Prucha’d full time.

Starting with the vets, Pyatt brings a physical game and some good board work to the lineup when healthy, but he has cement in his skates. Pouliot is a fluid skater and creative offensively, but does nothing without the puck and has taken bad offensive zone penalties. Miller is a bit of a mix, bringing good board work and good skating to the lineup, but he is lost without the puck and in the defensive zone. This seems like a “pick your poison” type of decision, but let’s look into the stats a bit.

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Final Four: Dan Girardi (2) vs. Derek Stepan (4)

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Henrik Lundqvist beat out Ryan Callahan in yesterday’s Final Four matchup in Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout tournament. Today, #2 Dan Girardi takes on #4 Derek Stepan in the other Final Four matchup, with the winner facing Hank for the tournament title. We want to thank Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) for pitching this idea to us. It was a great success and we hope you had as much fun voting as we did posting and seeing the results.

Dan Girardi (acquired – 2006 undrafted free agent)

Girardi is this team’s version of a Cinderella story. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of the OHL’s Guelph Storm (and Ryan Callahan’s teammate), Girardi was never a noted scorer, which is why he was never noticed. But the Rangers noticed him (presumably) while scouting Cally, and signed him to an AHL deal in the summer of 2005. They didn’t sign him to an NHL contract until 2006 after impressing in the ECHL and AHL. After his deal, he played another 45 games in the AHL before sticking with the big club permanently.

Over the next six seasons, Girardi missed a total of just four (!!) games. When you take into account the minutes (sometimes up to 30) he plays and the number of shots he blocks, that’s an impressive feat. Girardi isn’t a noted scorer (31-123-154 in his career), but he’s one of the best shutdown defensemen in the game today. Girardi has been the steady rock on defense, and players such as Fedor Tyutin, Marc Staal, and Ryan McDonagh have flourished while playing with him. Girardi was given the ‘A’ when Staal went down with his injuries, and it’s no mystery as to why.

To get to this point, Girardi beat #15 Dmitri Kalinin,  #7 Brad Richards, #6 Petr Prucha, and #1 Jaromir Jagr.

Derek Stepan (acquired – 2008 draft, 2nd round)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 3, Jaromir Jagr (1) vs. Brandon Prust (5)

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As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Today’s matchup is #1 Jaromir Jagr vs. #5 Brandon Prust, with the winner taking on the #2 Dan Girardi/#6 Petr Prucha winner in the Glen Sather Bracket.

Jaromir Jagr (acquired – 2004 trade with Washington)

The Rangers acquired Jagr in a trade with the Capitals that saw Anson Carter head over to Washington in exchange for Jagr and cash. The cash part being the Rangers paying just $4.94 million of Jagr’s $8 million salary, which was a huge boost in the salary cap era. As for Jagr himself, he set Ranger records for goals (54) and points (123) in a season in his first year on Broadway. He followed that up with a 96 point season  (30-66) and a 71 point season (25-46) before departing for the KHL. In each of those three seasons, Jagr played all 82 games, which is something he had never done in his entire career.

In Jagr’s 3 post-lockout seasons, he put together a line of 109-201-310 in 246 games, clearly the highest three-year offensive output in a long time for the Rangers, if not ever (I really think this is the greatest three year offensive span in Ranger history. Please correct me if I’m wrong). Henrik Lundqvist may have been the reason why the Rangers were successful post-lockout, especially in those first few seasons, but Jaromir Jagr made them matter. He gave the fans a reason to care again.

Brandon Prust (acquired – 2010 trade with Calgary)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Dan Girardi (2) vs. Dmitri Kalinin (15)

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As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Yesterday we saw #7 Brad Richards barely squeak by #10 Martin Biron in overtime. Today’s matchup is #2 Dan Girardi vs. #15 Dmitri Kalinin.

Dan Girardi (acquired – 2006 undrafted free agent)

Girardi is this team’s version of a Cinderella story. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of the OHL’s Guelph Storm (and Ryan Callahan’s teammate), Girardi was never a noted scorer, which is why he was never noticed. But the Rangers noticed him (presumably) while scouting Cally, and signed him to an AHL deal in the summer of 2005. They didn’t sign him to an NHL contract until 2006 after impressing in the ECHL and AHL. After his deal, he played another 45 games in the AHL before sticking with the big club permanently.

Over the next six seasons, Girardi missed a total of just four (!!) games. When you take into account the minutes (sometimes up to 30) he plays and the number of shots he blocks, that’s an impressive feat. Girardi isn’t a noted scorer (31-123-154 in his career), but he’s one of the best shutdown defensemen in the game today. Girardi has been the steady rock on defense, and players such as Fedor Tyutin, Marc Staal, and Ryan McDonagh have flourished while playing with him. Girardi was given the ‘A’ when Staal went down with his injuries, and it’s no mystery as to why.

Dmitri Kalinin (acquired – 2008 unrestricted free agent)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Brad Richards (7) vs. Martin Biron (10)

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As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Yesterday we saw #6 Petr Prucha beat #11 Paul Mara. Today’s matchup is #7 Brad Richards vs. #10 Martin Biron.

Brad Richards (acquired – 2011 unrestricted free agent)

Richards came on board with the Rangers in July of 2011, signing a nine-year back-loaded deal that many assumed would not be worth it towards the end of the contract. His first year wasn’t bad, putting up 25 goals and 66 points, but his second season was an unmitigated disaster. Clearly unprepared for the lockout shortened season, Richards looked slow, sluggish, and lost. That said, his point totals weren’t exactly terrible, putting up 11-23-34 in 44 games. In his first two seasons, Richards has a line of 36-64-100 in 128 games. That’s not exactly horrible.

Richards was the subject of many buyout rumors this summer, but the Rangers decided to keep him around. Even in this market, a 65 point center is tough to find for $6.6 million.

Martin Biron (acquired – 2010 unrestricted free agent)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Rick Nash (3) vs. Steve Eminger (14)

Sykora joined Kreider as the double-digit upset winner.

Sykora joined Kreider as the double-digit upset winner.

As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Yesterday we saw #13 Petr Sykora upset #4 Sean Avery. Today’s matchup is #3 Rick Nash vs. #14 Steve Eminger. You might notice we skipped #6 Petr Prucha vs. #11 Paul Mara, but since I expect that to be a close vote, I want to run that on Monday.

Rick Nash (acquired – 2012 trade with Columbus)

Nash came to the Rangers in an offseason blockbuster that sent Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 2013 1st round pick (Kerby Rychel) to the Blue Jackets for Nash, Steven Delisle, and a 2013 3rd round pick (Pavel Buchnevich). Nash was everything that was advertised for the Rangers, putting up 21 goals and 42 points in 44 games. Over an 82-game season, that averages out to about 40 goals and 80 points. Nash is the game breaker that the Rangers have needed desperately. With Nash, they have someone who can draw the opposition’s top defenders and still come out with a dominant shift.

It is necessary to point out that with Nash, the Rangers were expected to be a dominant offensive force. However, the struggles of Gaborik and Richards threw a wrench into that, leading to Gaborik’s trade for key depth players. None of that is on Nash, who performed in a manner that we expected.

Steve Eminger (acquired – 2010 trade with Anaheim)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Carl Hagelin (4) vs. Derek Morris (13)

Kreider pulled off the first major upset of the tournament yesterday.

Kreider pulled off the first major upset of the tournament yesterday.

As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Yesterday we saw #12 Chris Kreider upset #5 Jed Ortmeyer in the closest vote yet. The voting went to overtime and ended at 10:30am this morning. Today’s matchup is #4 Carl Hagelin vs. #13 Derek Morris:

Carl Hagelin (acquired – 2007 draft, 6th round)

Carl Hagelin is the latest of late-round steals by the Rangers. Drafted prior to his freshman year at Michigan, Hagelin was a project pick. He was expected to spend four years at Michigan, and did just that. When the Rangers signed Hagelin, he became the second Wolverines captain to come to the Rangers in a five-year span (Jed Ortmeyer). Many projected he would make the big club out of camp, but Hagelin spent the first two months of the season in Connecticut before his first call up. The puck possession monster put up a line of 14-24-38 in the remaining 64 games that season, and was one of the major turning points of the season for the Rangers.

With all that speed and skill, Hagelin is a bit inconsistent. He shows flashes, but he needs to harness that on a regular basis in order to be a top-flight top-six forward. Right now he is one of the best puck possession forwards in the NHL who will contribute 15-20 goals and 40 or so points. That output puts him at the cusp of the top-six, or one of the best third liners in hockey. Throw in his superb defensive and penalty killing ability, and Hagelin’s value to this club will only go up.

Derek Morris (acquired – 2009 trade with Phoenix)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Nigel Dawes (8) vs. Martin Rucinsky (9)

Offseason tournament bracket.

Offseason tournament bracket.

As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Today’s matchup is #8 Nigel Dawes vs. #9 Martin Rucinsky:

Nigel Dawes (Acquired – 2003 draft, round five)

Dawes has a special place in the hearts of Ranger fans. He was one of the first post-lockout homegrown players to make the team, getting his first cuppa in the 2006-2007 season before sticking with the big club for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. In 121 games, Dawes put together a line of 25-24-49. Perhaps his most remembered goal is when he completely undressed Chris Pronger, then with the Ducks. Dawes’ days as a Ranger came to an end at the 2009 trade deadline, when he was shipped to Phoenix –along with Dmitri Kalinin and Petr Prucha– for defenseman Derek Morris.

Martin Rucinsky (Acquired – 2005 unrestricted free agent)

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