Apr
20

First thoughts of the off-season

April 20, 2018, by · Comments (51)

www.themorningskate.com

Well, the off-season is officially upon us.  For the first time in years, we can watch playoff hockey stress free.  Kinda stinks.  There has been quite a bit of noise so far in Rangerland, between coaching rumors, exit interviews and an uncharacteristically vocal James Dolan.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. First, I want to talk out the coaching rumors.  Dolan has seemingly cast a wide net of potential candidates, ranging from NCAA to NHL experience.  He has indicated they are keeping an open mind with regard to experience, prioritizing a certain skill set over a set resume.  This is a good thing.  If there is a clear direction within the organization about what type of mindset they are looking for behind the bench, the more likely they actually get it as they move through the interview process.  I know I felt a little baited and switched with AV.  I understand the hire based on where the team was at the time, but he was advertised as progressive coach who was going to use data to try and gain a competitive edge.  We all now know he turned out to be just another hockey man.  Hopefully, with a clear mandate, we actually get what the team is telling us they want. Read More→

AP Photo/Nick Wass

With Alain Vigneault, Scott Arniel, and Darryl Williams all relieved of their duties earlier this month, the focus has moved to the new coach. It’s more than just a new voice in the locker room, though. It’s about a new system that will get the most out of the roster. We can’t predict what the roster will look like in October, but we can at least guess what the impact of a new system will be.

Perhaps the best example to use regarding a new system is Dan Girardi. Way overpaid and completely lost in AV’s system, the Rangers cut him loose to free up cap space. He has found life in Tampa Bay, improving on basically all of his puck possession stats while being used in a more passive system. Jon Cooper has certainly gotten a better version of Girardi than his final few years in New York.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (98)
Apr
18

Remembering John Amirante

April 18, 2018, by · Comments (13)

John Amirante died on Tuesday. I’ve been thinking about it almost nonstop, and the feeling of grief still hasn’t left me. I’d only met him twice, briefly, and aside from that I’d only ever heard him do one thing: sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Rangers games. Still, John Amirante was more than just the guy who sang the national anthem before Rangers games. He was a part of the Rangers family, what the Rangers meant.

I choose those words carefully, because right now, there’s no guarantee he’ll still be a part of what it means to bleed blue in this ever-changing era. Our team, the sport of hockey, and the world we live in are rapidly shifting, all given to us by our forebearers, many of whom are still with us but many of whom, like John, have either moved on or will be moving on as the pages turn. As this passage of time occurs we must commit ourselves to remembering and retelling their stories, over and over again, to keep them with us and one day pass them on to those who come next.

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Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (13)
Apr
17

John Amirante has died at 83

April 17, 2018, by · Comments (13)

john amirante

Today is a sad day. John Amirante has died at the age of 83. Until recently, Amirante was the only person who sang the National Anthem at Rangers games. It was an absolute joy to watch him. The anthem hasn’t been the same since, and will never be the same.

Game Seven in 1994 will always be the lasting memory I have.

Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (13)
Apr
17

Using cap space as a trade asset

April 17, 2018, by · Comments (44)

jeff gorton

The Rangers are in a situation that we’ve never seen before. Always strapped for cash, the Rangers have never had the luxury of breathing room and flexibility to make trades. However heading into the offseason, the Rangers have oodles of cap space, with plenty to spare once they sign their key RFAs.

Cap space is an interesting thing. The Rangers have never had any, so it’s been a scarce commodity. However for teams with plenty of it, it’s been an asset. The Isles landed Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy for basically nothing. The Coyotes acquired Chris Pronger and Pavel Datsyuk –both retired and with big cap hits– with prospects to help teams free up space. Vegas did the same in the expansion draft. Now, it might be the Rangers’ turn.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (44)

It’s been a short while since Alain Vigneault was fired as the Rangers’ head coach – hopefully the feeling of relief (or whatever you may be feeling) has settled in a little bit and you’re ready to look toward the future. Along those lines I thought it’d be fun to take a look at a few coaching options for our beloved Blueshirts, but to make things interesting let’s stick to Rob’s rule of “never coached an NHL game”.

I’m following this dictum for a couple of reasons. The first is that I genuinely believe that the Rangers would be better off trying somebody new, provided they do their homework thoroughly and have a good idea what they’re in for with a strong candidate. The other reason is convenience: you probably have heard enough about Darryl Sutter, he of two Stanley Cups with the Kings, or even Bill Peters, rumored to have an out clause with the transitioning Carolina Hurricanes. So let’s make some new friends, shall we?

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (33)
Apr
15

Being tough to play against doesn’t mean fighting

April 15, 2018, by · Comments (35)

scott stevens

One of the major storylines surrounding the Rangers under Alain Vigneault was that the club was soft, vanilla, and easy to play against. It led to creating a false need for guys like Tanner Glass, Cody McLeod, and other face punchers that couldn’t do much else. The false need was created by the incorrect assessment that being tough to play against means fighting.

Let’s unpack this a bit. Yes, there is a need for physical play. It’s hockey, after all. However the term “tough to play against” has evolved. It goes beyond traditional fighting and hitting. This makes logical sense, since the game itself has evolved.

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Comments (35)
Apr
14

The case for keeping Marc Staal next season

April 14, 2018, by · Comments (32)

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers are in a transition period. The rebuild is in full swing. There are questions about regarding who stays and who goes. One of those questions is on Marc Staal, who has three more years left on his deal with a $5.7 million cap hit. Suffice it to say, it’s not a good contract.

The calls to trade or buyout Staal prior to this year were warranted. His contract was bad, and he was taking up cap space that could have been spent elsewhere. Without that contract, the Rangers probably don’t need to trade Derek Stepan to sign Kevin Shattenkirk, and perhaps this season is different. There’s no guarantee, but it’s something worth calling out. But times have changed in less than a year.

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Categories : Players
Comments (32)
Apr
13

Thank You

April 13, 2018, by · Comments (50)

I started writing for Blue Seat Blogs back during the 2011-2012 season.  It still astounds me that it has been six years, so far.  It really doesn’t seem like that long ago. I remember that there was an article about Milan Lucic’s hit on Ryan Miller (I honestly can’t even find the post now), but I was so worked up about people saying that goalies should be fair game when they come out that far that I went on a tirade in the comments section, which is highly unusual for me (before I began writing I never really engaged in the comments section).  Next thing I know, The Suit had sent me an email asking if I would be interested in contributing to the site.  Man, I miss that well-dressed, head-less maniac.  Read More→

Categories : Offseason
Comments (50)
Apr
12

Thursday Thoughts: Coaching, Bereglazov, Kovalchuk

April 12, 2018, by · Comments (51)

lindy ruff

The playoffs are officially underway. Seems weird because the Rangers not only aren’t in them, but missed them by a wide margin. It wasn’t even close. They swan dived off a cliff. But that doesn’t mean the week has been slow. Alain Vigneault, Daryl Williams, and Scott Arniel were all shown the door. Ilya Kovalchuk appears to be on his way to New York. Alexei Bereglazov is having his contract terminated. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First the new news, as Bereglazov was placed on unconditional waivers to have his contract terminated. I’m not surprised by this, and neither should you. When he didn’t make the team out of camp, he eventually went back to Russia. This was the logical next step, as it’s clear he’s nowhere near the top of the depth chart, even with a new coach.

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Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (51)