Practice updates: Buchnevich to the fourth line

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (68)

Alain Vigneault activated his lineup blender. This time, he broke up the KZB line, putting Pavel Buchnevich on the fourth line.

Rick Nash-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-David Desharnais-JT Miller
Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner-Paul Carey-Adam Cracknell/Pavel Buchnevich

Ryan McDonagh-Tony DeAngelo
Brady Skjei-Brendan Smith
Marc Staal-Kevin Shattenkirk
Nick Holden-Steven Kampfer

If this doesn’t illustrate the need for a center, then I don’t know what does. Yikes.

Categories : Lineup Changes
Comments (68)

The Rangers have a deployment problem

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (34)

ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have had a myriad of problems to start the season. Jeff Gorton put together a flawed roster that was weak up front. Alain Vigneault isn’t doing anything to minimize those issues. The players have been inconsistent and not scoring. They’ve been a rare combination of bad and unlucky.

There is more to the issue though. As AV continues to tinker with his lineup choices, his in-game deployment strategy suffers mightily. For better or for worse, AV relies on one defense pairing to shoulder the load of defensive zone starts, giving his offensive guys more opportunities to put points on the board. This year, though, he hasn’t identified who his shutdown pair is and who is offensive pair is, and that’s a problem.

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Categories : Analysis, Defense
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A rare feat: The Rangers have been both bad and unlucky

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (43)

Photo: Getty

One of the common discussions you’ll see here at BSB is the discussion about luck masking poor play, and poor luck masking good play. Generally speaking, teams that have a PDO (SV%+SH%) over 100, then the team is lucky. It’s a general rule, as skilled teams are generally over 100, especially teams with elite goaltending. There’s credence to the “create your own luck” argument, but abnormally high/low PDOs generally balance out.

That’s why xGF% is used to determine how well a team is actually playing. It takes the quality and quantity of shots taken/allowed and turns it into a stat that is usable. Generally speaking, a higher xGF% means you’re playing well. A team with a high xGF% and a poor record usually has some poor luck, and vice versa. It is rare to see a team that is both bad (xGF%) and unlucky (PDO), but the Rangers managed to do just that.

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Categories : Analysis
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Chytil shines in Pack win

October 15, 2017, by · Comments (11)

Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Springfield Thunderbirds 3

Springfield, MA, October 14, 2017 – Filip Chytil had the game-winning goal and two assists, for his first North American pro points, Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds by a score of 4-3.

The game was the Wolf Pack’s first road outing of the season, after the club went 2-1-0-0 in three straight home games to begin the year.

Chytil, 18, the youngest player to suit up in the AHL since October of 1974, was playing in his second game since being assigned to the Wolf Pack by the parent New York Rangers on Tuesday.

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Categories : AHL
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State of the Rangers: An Early Season Vent Session

October 15, 2017, by · Comments (66)

The New York Rangers are off to their worst start (1-5) since 1980, when final scores like 7-2 and 8-4 were commonplace.  The team has done a little bit of everything wrong in each of its five losses, and in fact were not particularly good in their lone victory against Montreal (thanks, Henrik!).

It’s been two weeks of poor hockey, and the Rangers are already on course to make their lives difficult in terms of playoff positioning when March and April come around.  Think of it this way: even if the Rangers manage to go a respectable 8-6 over their next 14 games, they’ll be 9-11 at the quarter mark of the season.  It’s a long climb out when you dig yourself an early-season hole in the NHL.

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Comments (66)

GIF Recap: Rangers drop a stinker to the Devils

October 15, 2017, by · Comments (51)

The Rangers played very poorly last night. To put it bluntly, they stunk up the joint so bad, I’m smelling it across the Hudson. Let’s check in on how the team is doing right now:

The game was, as usual, a total cluster and yet in some ways, totally predictable. The Rangers played roughly 1/3 of this game, perhaps thinking this is still practice? But maybe this is just how they’re coached at this point, since they had a habit of doing this last year as well, except they managed to win these games that they’re losing in 2017. Read More→

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Game 6: For the love of all that is holy, please just win

October 14, 2017, by · Comments (60)
rangers devils

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The Rangers are now 1-4 to start the season. It is not panic time just yet, as you can’t make the playoffs in October. However you can miss the playoffs in October, and given the Metro Division, that holds particularly true if the Rangers don’t start banking some points. Tonight they get the lowly Devils, so hopefully they should come out with two points. It doesn’t matter how, the Devils aren’t making the playoffs, they just need the points.

The issue goes beyond roster decisions. As Pat pointed out this afternoon, it’s about in-game deployment. There is no reason why the KZB line should be stuck with defensive zone starts with McDonagh/Holden while the fourth line –assembled as a defense-first unit– gets offensive zone starts with Shattenkirk/Skjei. It’s mind boggling. But whatever. Water under the bridge. Just get points.

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Categories : Game Thread
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Nieves with goal and assist as Pack tops Marlies

October 14, 2017, by · Comments (4)

Hartford Wolf Pack 5, Toronto Marlies 2

By Meghan O’Reilly

Hartford, CT, October 13, 2017 – Boo Nieves had the game-winning goal and an assist, and Scott Kosmachuk added three assists, as the Hartford Wolf Pack downed the Toronto Marlies 5-2 Friday night at the XL Center.

The Wolf Pack scored early, a developing trend for the team, thanks to Adam Tambellini and assists from Nieves and Kosmachuk. That goal occurred at 5:07 of the first period, and it was on the team’s first shot on goal of the game. After a series of penalties, the Wolf Pack was outshot in the first period 11-5.

The second period started uneventfully, but it did not stay that way for long. At 6:29, the Wolf Pack’s Matt Puempel changed the tone of the game by putting the rebound of his own shot past Toronto goaltender Garret Sparks (25 saves), making the score 2-0. Ryan Graves and Alexei Bereglazov were credited with the assists.

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Categories : AHL
Comments (4)

So what’s up with these Rangers?

October 14, 2017, by · Comments (28)
rangers senators

AP / Sean Kilpatrick

We’re now five games deep into the 2017-2018 regular season and the Rangers seem to be having issues winning hockey games. Now, of course this is the smallest of sample sizes, and not to put on my fortune teller hat but I guarantee you they’ll win more than one game this season, but it’s fair to say that there might be some issues with the team. Now you might recall just a week ago I was urging calm after the Rangers dropped their home opener, so how on Earth can I hold these two thoughts in my head at once? Well, in short, I think there’s a distinction to be made between the on-ice play of the team and the structural deficiencies this team displays (although obviously there’s a link – we’ll get to that later).

I still think, as I said last week after the home opener, that there’s not a lot we can tell about how this team will play based on how they’ve played so far. The sample size is just too small – Mika Zibanejad for instance is going to go cold at some point, Hank will have a bad game here and there, and guys who aren’t really making a huge impact right now are going to break out. Over the course of an 82 game season there are going to be ebbs and flows on pretty much every level, and we simply can’t read the tides based on five games’ play.

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Comments (28)
rangers blue jackets

Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty

The Rangers and Blue Jackets played a very even 40 minutes of hockey. It was good pace, with good chances on both sides. Each side scored once, but neither seemed to gain an advantage. Then the third period happened, and it was all Blue Jackets, leading to the eventual game winner by Artemi Panarin.

Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal in this one, getting beat clean just once on the Panarin goal. The first goal was a deflection that he had no chance. He made 40 saves in the loss. But Sergei Bobrovsky was up to the task, playing a solid game, albeit quiet for most of the third. This entire game came down to the first 10 minutes of the third period. The Rangers were poor, and it cost them the game.

On to the goals.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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