The Rangers need more from their trusted veterans

October 19, 2017, by · Comments (2)

mats zuccarello

As of publication of this post on October 19, 2017, the Rangers stink. It’s a hard truth. But there is nothing going right, and even a regression away from 4% shooting back to 7% shooting won’t save them. They are, in a word, horrible.

There are many people to blame, and we’ve covered it all. But in the end it comes down to execution on the ice. When the team struggles, you turn to guys who have been through it before. The problem, though, is those guys are not producing at all.

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Categories : Analysis
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A Plea for Stability

October 19, 2017, by · Comments (36)

Please pair this man with Shattenkirk!

The New York Rangers are officially in an early-season crisis, with just three points earned from their first seven games.  While many are pointing to a similar start in 2013-2014 as reason to keep calm, there’s enough statistical precedent to be concerned.

When a team finds itself in a downward spiral like this, there is never just one singular problem, but a combination of factors.  In addition to the intangibles (lack of confidence, bad luck) the Rangers have not managed their personnel well to this point.  There are curious lineup choices across the board, exacerbated by the nightly shuffling of players in and out of, and up and down the lineup.

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Categories : Coaching
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On this week’s Blue Seat Blogs-cast Pat, Becky, and Dave discuss the Rangers’ deployment issues, the ever-changing lineup, and yes, even their playoff chances. As always you can find us right here, on iTunes, and on SoundCloud. Feel free to leave us a review or a comment too!


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Revisiting the Andreas Athanasiou situation

October 18, 2017, by · Comments (22)

Can Detroit and the Rangers help each other?

This post was written a few days ago. Since then, the beat writers have bemoaned the lack of center depth, AV has gone crazy with his line combinations and the Rangers threw up a stinker to the Devils (I fear for the Rangers against the Pens as I schedule this post…). So without further ado, back to one potential external center solution?

The Rangers inability (or stubbornness?) to properly address the center position prior to the new season has definitely had an impact on their uneven start to the season, even if more of the blame can/should be rested squarely at the feet of Alain Vigneault and his now borderline inexplicable coaching decisions (please, no more Steven Kampfer).

What makes the Rangers struggles at center even more frustrating is that there are very legitimate, indeed enticing, options outside of the organisation. Are ten days into a season too early to make a external move? Well clearly not, as the club deemed it appropriate to pick up journeyman depth player Adam Cracknell. Yay.

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Categories : Forwards
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Rangers steal defeat from the jaws of victory

October 18, 2017, by · Comments (119)
rangers penguins

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty

Last night, the Rangers made us ride a wild range of emotions. The Blueshirts opened the game with by spotting the Pens a 2-0 lead, something they seem to do regularly. Then they toyed with us, scoring three straight to take the lead. It was a tremendous back and forth effort that ended with the Rangers taking a 4-3 lead into the final minute.

They a poor decision in their own end led to an odd Sidney Crosby goal from behind the goal line, something Henrik Lundqvist surely wants back. And then it was the worst play I’ve ever seen Ryan McDonagh make that gave the Penguins two points instead of none. The Rangers one point instead of two. They got a point (hooray), but didn’t instill any confidence (boo).

On to the goals:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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Game 7: Bank points, or possibly miss the playoffs

October 17, 2017, by · Comments (31)

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

That’s what it has come to, folks. After ab abysmal 1-5 start, the Rangers are in danger of falling below the four-points-out line at the end of October, which makes it very difficult (not impossible) to make the playoffs. Now with the Penguins in town, the feat gets tougher.

Coaching is an issue. As is roster construction. But the piece that the players control is showing up to play. Saturday against the Devils was inexcusable, and hopefully that serves as rock bottom. The lines went through a blender again, but the defense pairings look somewhat decent. Who knows, maybe they turn it around tonight.

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Categories : Game Thread
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The magic number is three

October 17, 2017, by · Comments (44)

jt miller

Three points. That’s the number we should be focusing on for the rest of the month. The Rangers, who are now 1-5 to start the season, are currently five points out of a playoff spot. Yes, it’s early, but the magic number at the end of October is to be three points out of a playoff spot. This is no arbitrary number.

In 2013, Elliotte Friedman pointed out that teams four points out of a playoff spot in October rarely make the playoffs. Part of this is anecdotal, as a good number of these teams aren’t really playoff teams. However the loser point has completely changed the landscape in hockey. Playing to .500 hockey means you’re a bad team, not a mediocre team.

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Categories : Analysis
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Practice updates: Buchnevich to the fourth line

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (92)

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
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The Rangers have a deployment problem

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (35)

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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