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BSB Fanduel: Halloween edition

We’ve had a few requests to expand the league size for our nightly Fanduel leagues, so we’ve made this league size 10 people ($2 entry, top-three finish in the money). So, I created another league at Fanduel for tonight’s games. You can sign up for Fanduel by clicking here. The league link is here.

For those unfamiliar with Fanduel, you are given $55,000 to construct a team of 2 LW, 2 RW, 2 C, 2 D, and 1 G. The goal is to find some good bargains (my advice is to save money on defense and spend big on offense) and save money for some stars you know will put up points.

We will continue to expand league size as interest grows, but we seem to have a stream of 5-7 steady players and a few others that have expressed interest.

Derek Stepan’s return raises Rangers line-up questions

Stepan's return will have a major impact on the Rangers line-up. AP Photo/Bruce Bennett, Pool

Stepan’s return will have a major impact on the Rangers line-up. AP Photo/Bruce Bennett, Pool

As Derek Stepan has finally hit the ice with his team mates (albeit in a non contact jersey) the questions will now begin to focus more on where rather than when will Stepan play. Following the excellent instant chemistry Rick Nash has shown with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello the logical thinking will be to try and keep that trio in tact in the short term. Of course, given Nash’s not so pretty possession numbers perhaps Alain Vigneault will consider reuniting Stepan with the Rangers best and hottest forward.

Questions will be raised about Stepan’s match readiness. Will Stepan need to be eased back in? And can Nash be a spark for Stepan the way he appears to have been for Zuccarello and Brassard? The options for Stepan are numerous at this stage. With Stepan’s return almost certainly meaning the end of the Marty St Louis at center experiment, the chances are that Stepan will be paired with St Louis and Kreider, (finally) giving the Rangers two legitimate scoring lines for the first time this season.

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BSB live chat 10.31.14

Live Blog BSB Live Chat 10.31.14
 

Friday chat reminder

Happy Friday, BSB faithful!  We’ve had a long, between game layoff, but no shortage of Ranger-related news.  The imminent return of Derek Stepan, John Moore’s suspension, line combos, defensive pairs, the last time anyone has seen Cam Talbot alive…  Join me today for a chat on all these topics and more, starting at Noon today.  Don’t forget to drop by at 11:45am and fill up that queue.  See everyone in a few short hours!

BSB Fanduel League, Round Two

Tuesday’s league went pretty well, we filled all eight slots. So let’s go ahead and try it again tonight. For those unfamiliar with Fanduel, you are given $55,000 to construct a team of 2 LW, 2 RW, 2 C, 2 D, and 1 G. The goal is to find some good bargains (for example, Scott Darling of Chicago is $6,000 while Marc-Andre Fleury is over $9,000) and save money for some stars you know will put up points.

I created another league at Fanduel for tonight’s games. You can sign up for Fanduel by clicking here. The league link is here.

We don’t do anything crazy, it’s $2 to enter and winner takes all. It’s an eight person league again (winner gets a shade over $14). If the league fills up before you can sign up, let me know. Trying to gauge how big to make these things.

Off-day musings: New lines, call ups, injuries

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Today is an off-day for the Rangers, so the day is slow. Yesterday saw a little bit of action, as John Moore was suspended for give games, and Alain Vigneault shook up the defensive pairings as a result. In some good news Derek Stepan is on track to be activated off LTIR next week.

  • Looking at those new defensive pairings, that bottom four is just bad. First, Dan Girardi on his off-handed side is risky, and pairing him with Kevin Klein doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Second, Matt Hunwick has been good, but he’s seen sheltered minutes. Pairing him with Mike Kostka, who is better than his epic fail game this season, is a risk. These two are a pair of 7Ds being asked to play 12-14 minutes together. Dan Boyle, please heal soon.
  • I’d have to venture a guess that this is a one game trial for these pairings. At least it’s against Winnipeg. But it does beg the question: Why are there no call ups? It’s early in the season, and at some point you have to see what you have in Conor Allen. The opening came on the left side, so why not see what he’s got? He has a very similar skill set to Moore, Kostka, and Hunwick as well.

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Measuring defense: Relative Corsi and Corsi Against

Dan Girardi: once again, Mr dependable. Photo: McIsaac/Getty

Photo: McIsaac/Getty

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that we like to combine what we see in the goal breakdowns with what we see in the stats. We are a bit limited by time constraints (thus no gifs or pictures of non-goal events), but we point out various areas where the Rangers have defensive breakdowns that lead to goals. While only pointing out goals is limited –If someone wants to pay me to do this full-time, I’ll gladly point out more plays. But I don’t have the time. So those of you complaining, quit it, it’s annoying and rather pointless– it is useful.

The defensive breakdowns are what we see with the eye test. And while the eye test should never be ignored, it does tend to focus on big screw-ups and lend itself to bias. It’s why defense should also be measured by two key metrics: One that we use regularly (relative Corsi) and one that we admittedly don’t use enough (Corsi Against).

Relative Corsi you are familiar with, as it measures possession on the ice relative to the rest of the team when off the ice. The concept here is that the higher the number, the more time you have the puck in the offensive zone, thus limiting opposition opportunities. Corsi Against measures shot suppression, which is a measure of relative Corsi, and shows us the shot attempts against while on the ice.

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John Moore suspended five games

Rangers defenseman John Moore has been suspended five games for his hit on Erik Haula on Monday night. Moore delivered a direct hit to the head of Haula, and is a repeat offender. Moore will be eligible to return on 11/11 against Pittsburgh.

Lineup changes: New defense pairings with Moore out

Per Brett Cyrgalis, the coaching staff shook up the defensive pairings a bit with John Moore headed towards a suspension. The forward lines were changed up as well, likely due to the success we saw from the Mats Zuccarello-Derick Brassard-Rick Nash trio:

Zuccarello-Brassard-Nash
Chris Kreider-Martin St. Louis-Anthony Duclair
Carl Hagelin-Dominic Moore-Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass-Kevin Hayes-Chris Mueller

Ryan McDonagh-Marc Staal
Kevin Klein-Dan Girardi
Matt Hunwick-Mike Kostka

Ryan Malone took a maintenance day.

That fourth line is likely to change, probably moving Mueller to center, Malone to RW, and Hayes as a scratch. Either way, that fourth line is “meh” at best. The bottom four looks, well, it looks like it will get exploited a few times. I think that’s a mild way of putting it.

Injury Update: Stepan to be off LTIR next week

Per Steve Zipay, coach Alain Vigneault noted that injured center Derek Stepan, who fractured his fibula in training camp, has seen no setbacks and will be all good to come off LTIR next week. Stepan is first eligible to come off LTIR on 11/3, and it appears he will be good to go at some point that week. I wouldn’t expect him to be good for the 11/3 game against St. Louis, but maybe Wednesday against Detroit at home or Saturday in Toronto.