Leafs-Rangers Analysis

October 28, 2011, by

So much for transformation huh?

I don’t want to make this some drawn-out bitter post, which seems to be the Modus Operandi today, so here are a few thoughts about last night’s loss.


  • What do you make of Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov? Dubi was great controlling the puck down low and working the forecheck early in the game. After the second he was skating into double/triple coverage with his head down and losing the puck with ease.
  • Anisimov didn’t show up until the final minutes and his turnover on one of the goals was a carbon copy of Dubi’s turnovers. It was like watching two Scott Gomez’s out there. Enjoy the 4th line Arty…
  • Can anyone on this team pass the puck besides Brad Richards?  Does anyone else have any hockey sense?
  • I feel like every line was throwing the puck into their teammates skates last night.  Their positioning wasn’t much better. When you’re bumping into your teammates on the rush or while cycling, you’re not in the right spot.
  • The one thing I did like was the 4 on 3 powerplay. Torts had them playing a diamond. I thought it generated some good puck movement and a few good chances. I especially liked how he brought one of his pointmen in to crash the net. They didn’t score on the play, but the Leafs made the coverage mistake, so I guess you could say it was good tactic.


  • Michael Sauer looked great and routinely had to cover up for Del Zotto’s mistakes. His sliding save on the empty net was just awesome. Great read by him.
  • Del Zotto had one goal (should have been two), but other than those two plays, he was pretty bad. Still, credit Torts for throwing him back out there on the power play and the empty net situation. I figured Torts would have ripped him a new a** and benched him. Instead he told him to wipe his face and get up again.
  • Girardi and McDonagh each had their moments defensively (both got caught out of position in the OZ), but other than a few mistakes, I thought they played okay. I’d keep that unit together.
  • Eminger and Erixon couldn’t move Lombardi (5’10) or bean pole Tim Connolly out of the crease. Time to hit the gym fellas.


  • Hank you are forgiven.


  • Please refer to yesterday morning’s musings. Nuff said…


  • As far as the Avery chant is concerned. If you think the Sean Avery of 2010 or 2011 would have helped last night you are sorely mistaken. Remember last season when Avery slashed Komisarek twice in the ankle behind the play? Yea that puts your team in an excellent position to win.
Categories : Analysis, Game Wrap-ups


  1. RangerSmurf says:

    Problem I had with the diamond was player positioning. Not sure why Step was the one on the half-wall and Gaborik up top. I’d have flipped them and just fed Gabby over and over.

    Also, I’m going to start flogging people that mention Dubi and AA without mentioning Callahan.

    Yes, Artie had a bad turnover, but the shot the other way should’ve been stopped, and if it is, the play doesn’t register nearly as much. Otherwise, he’s at least playing solid defense, at ES and on the PK.

    • The Suit says:

      Cally at least went out there and hustled last night. He also put the puck on net.

      Arty just kind of lumbers around. He has to contribute more offensively.

      • RangerSmurf says:

        Artie lumbers because he’s a big dude. I don’t see a lack of effort from him so far.

        Same argument though, Artie’s got more points than Callahan. Cally has a bunch of shots, yes, but he’s gotten a little Avery-esque with his shot selection.

        Both need more offensively.

        • The Suit says:

          So you are telling me that Artie’s effort was consistent through out the night? Come on bro. He didn’t move his legs until his last few shifts.

          Cally the effort was there, the result was not. I don’t fault him for his shot selection in a game where your team can’t manufacture offense for two thirds of the game.

          • RangerSmurf says:

            In 8 minutes of ES time, yes, I think Artie’s effort was fine last night, at least relative to the rest of the team.

            It’s one thing to get rubber on net when you have offense pressure. The “Avery-esque” comparison is based on the 1 on 1 rush where you fire a 45-ft wrist shot from a bad angle. That’s not helping anyone.

            I don’t want to get caught up in minutia all day, so I’ll just say this aside from Gaborik, they all stink right now. Nobody should be scapegoated.

  2. Matt says:

    according to Don La Greca via twitter (@donlagreca) he said when the rangers went down 3-1, the Garden was chanting “We want Avery!”…that’s kinda funny.


    • The Suit says:

      thanks for the reminder Matt 😉 knew I was forgetting something…

      post updated!

      • Matt says:

        oh, haha, I’m not saying he needs to be on the team, I just found it funny that the garden faithful were chanting for him.

        • The Suit says:

          I figured as much. I liked how they wrote send Torts to Hartford or whatever. That was pretty funny.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t get that chant. Avery is not a savior.

  3. jerry says:

    i know ill get alot of flack for this but does anyone miss prospal and avery yet?prospal would have fit with gabi and richards and we all know what avery brings even with the stupid nonsense….i do.and when are we gonna keep some lines together for more than 3 seconds.also the dump and chase sh.t doesnt work when you dont get to the puck…sick of seeing it.i was a big torts fan but now im starting to have doubts..sick of hearing the same things out of his mouth about how this team.

    • The Suit says:

      The Rangers secondary scorers tried pulling up at the half boards (which is the opposite of dump and chase) and it didn’t work either.

      The way this team is built, those bottom 9 guys have to forecheck to succeed.

      • jerry says:

        i dont know what games you watch but all they do is dump and chase……everybody has thier own opinion.and the bottom nine arent doing very well at suceeding…

        • jerry says:

          maybe if we kept some lines together we would start to gel.

          • The Suit says:

            I feel your frustration bro, but I watch the same game you did last night. I’m just breaking it down for you all. Wasn’t trying to dump on you…

    • Dave says:

      Good for Prospal, but I don’t miss him on the ice that much.

  4. Mikeyyyy says:

    Rangers record with Avery in the lineup: 129-89-32

    An 82 game pace of – 95.12 points

    Rangers record without Avery in the lineup: 56-41-14
    (includes 08-09 before being brought back from Dallas, and the young 11/12 season)

    An 82 game pace of – 93.49 points

    Nuff said. Rangers win more with the grate one in the lineup. So if he plays. Yeah I think the score would have been different.

    • jerry says:

      should have just added richards and kept the line up from last year..but thats my opinion..

    • The Suit says:

      Well if we are going to bring up generic stats, what was Paul Mara’s record with the Rangers, I believe his record was pretty good as well…

    • Dave says:

      If you want to bring up that stat, bring up that stat for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 only.

  5. Joe says:

    I don’t think any body can say for certain that they would be better or worse with Avery from a scoring stand point. It has not happened so its all guess work and opinion. But I do feel that the game would be more entertaining. Does anyone think this listless team will make a serious run? I dont. I want the entertainment. That game was entertaining in the first and was boring as hell for the rest of the game. I want them to win but I also want to watch a game where i can’t wait to see what happens next. Win lose or draw AVery in a game makes it more exciting to watch. If this team had the talent and drive of the 94 Rangers, they would not need Avery ( They would Have Tikkanen. Just my Opinion

    • The Suit says:

      I agree Joe. It’s too bad Avery and Torts couldn’t get on the same page. I won’t point fingers anymore, but I will say when Avery was playing well and not costing us (thinking more of his first stint), the games were entertaining and we were winning. It sure was nice to have both.

  6. jerry says:

    just for the record..in 10 games this season prospal has 4 goals and 5 assists.9 points.

  7. wwpd says:

    did anyone see the sign that said “Dave stop making predictions” ?

    🙂 just kidding dave, i love your pregame summaries

  8. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Refs, enough said, line changes, enough said however what is being forgotten is that this is not nor was it going to be a Stanley Cup winning team. To measure the success of the season is by watching some of the kids develop and grow and build chemistry on the top line. In my opinion for example Stepan has none of his future linemates here on the Roster as I think it will be Krieder and Miller on the 2nd line and that will bring the pack line down to third. What has to be considered is who the core of the team is.
    Now the alarming news is they seem too tired in all the games they have played, the powerplay is powerless and way too many line changes, The defense which was to be our strength showed alarming concerns when our own farm system was to be able to assist in the predicament we found ourselves in. Kunderatek and Valatenko were to be players we could count on to fill spots on the roster and that did not happen.
    Gordie Clark will be better suited to do his magic when he has a better draft position in this years draft and what I have noticed is that there is nothing wrong with a Defenseman being selected number 1 and there are 2 in my mind I would like to select. The other glaring problem is Right handed shots with jam and size. No more smurfs please let’s draft some power forwards.
    If as a fan your focus is going to be on winning a cup here is my humble advice “suffering is optional” and if your focus will be on seeing Stepan and Del Zotto blossom then there is beauty in patience when watching a flower blossom. My hope for this year are that we see those two kids prosper and additions to the elite part of the core, seeing Bourque get a few shifts and play time with Boyle and Prust, and seeing us drafting Griffin Reinhart at the upcoming draft.

    • bob says:

      Our defense has not been that bad.The defense at the Whale is playing great at the moment.I feel Management is trying to be careful not to rush our young guys.Maybe they realize Torts will mentally destroy them if they make too many mistakes i.e.Del Zotto start of last year.I personally would like to see at least one rookie up front instead of seeing Christensen out there.Another thing I would like is a trade with Calgary for Glencross or Bourque.True left wingers with great contracts.Calgary is rebuilding so draft picks and a decent prospect or 2 might do it.Or a trade for any left winger to put with Rich and Gabs.That gives us a chance to have 2 decent scoring lines,one all around line and 1 solid fourth line.I feel we really lack a fourth line that goes out and wakes everybody up,especially the fans at home.I think Newbury,Rupp and Avery should be able to go out and bang and provide some energy.We need a line that can spark the team.Another thing I would like to see is the D carry the puck up the ice,it seems that try to get rid of it a.s.a.p. instead of skating with it.Seems like we turn the puck over the neutral zone right after they shovel it off.

  9. Eric says:

    Bottom line is they are playing like they will be lottery team. Where is that tough forecheck from last year? That forecheck turned defensive to offense quite quickly. We are really missing Staal. The longer nothing is said the worst the prognosis could be for Staal.

    Arty is playing on the 4th line and has trade value. Do the Rangers move Arty and a pick or prospect for top 6 left wing? The rangers have Richards for nine years, Stephan will be here for next 5, Boyle has multiyear deal. Where does Arty fit in? I think adding a first line left wing could be huge. It will also have help stabilize the line combinations, so Torts doesn’t play musical lines every game.

    I keep going back to the Torts question is he the right guy for Rangers. It is early in the season and i am super concerned he will lose this team sooner then later. When Torts was hired i loved the move but I am concerned this season could be a big step back.

    I still think this is a team who could make noise in the playoffs when they start playing to there potential or they could easily be in the lottery if they keep playing they way did for the first 8 games. I do not want to here they where on this long road trip and where Europe. They didn’t have to play the all those exhibitions games in europe. They are professional’s all they do is play Hockey for a very generous living.


    • Leatherneckinlv says:

      I think Arty is part of the core, however I am questioning in my mind if his place is with Cally and Dubi. Giving him a shot with Gabby and Richards on the wing might not be a bad thing to experiment and explore with. One thing that needs to happen is making up 4 lines and playing them on a consistent basis for at least 10 games. An example of that success was when Sauer and McDonagh played as a tandem and they just got better and better

      • bob says:

        Probably be better to give AA a shot on top line instead of burying him on the fourth.We actually played with 4 lines in the first period.Then Toronto adjusted their gameplan for the second and Torts did his usual adjustment,shorten the bench.I guess thats the only trick he has up his sleeve.

  10. Sioux-per-man says:

    Tuff crowd last night. What a stinker of a game. I’m with the King on this one. Forget it and move on!!! Puke….now I feel better.

    I liked the chant “We want Avery!!!” So do I, is it to much to ask for the 2009 version?

    I’ll give the King a pass on last night, he’s earned one. I was a fan of his quotes after the game. Well said.

    The one thing that surprises me the most the year so far….. look at Dallas right now. Top of their conference without their super star Richards from last year. Still scratching my head over that one.

    I’ll judge the team after the 5 remaining home games. If they are not a clear cut top 8 team by Thanksgiving, they will be a bubble team the rest of the year.

    We need more speed!!! We need someone that can hit someone without being scared. Something tells me we will need an “Avery” type of player against the Patrick division. Why not call him up for home games, if only to get the crowd into it.

    Na that will never happen….. or will it?

    Kreider – yes.
    Miller – in a couple of years.

    TJ Osie is on a one year deal. He should be someone we keep an eye on in St. Louis. He is on a one year deal. He would be a perfect Blueshirt Power Forward.


    • bob says:

      Agree with alot of what you are saying,we need a true fourth line.Torts has to play it.And I dont want Gabby worrying about finishing his checks like last year.This year he is concerned with getting open and he’s playing good.I hope Torts leaves him alone.And we need a wing for Gabs and Richie.

    • Leatherneckinlv says:

      I also would not mind swinging a deal with the leafs to get Tyler Biggs. Picturing Biggs with Stepan and Krieder makes me salivate and recall that infamous Islander line with Trottier, Gillies and Bossy as I can see them having that kind of a dynamic, I am not saying they will have that kind of a success however the elements are there for it to be that kind of a line with possibilities of creating those kinds of results that line did create

      • The Suit says:

        I wouldn’t make any moves just yet, but theoretically speaking, I like TJ as a replacement, not an addition. Ultimately we will need someone who can make plays as opposed to adding another grinder type. But I do agree Oshie would fit the system to a T.

        • bob says:

          Agree Oshie is someone to go after at the end of the season.I think we should try to land a wing for Gabs and Richie.If we can do it reasonably.We could probably fit Glencross at 2.5 under the cap.Then Step moves down,maybe as a playmaker for Dubie and Cally if Torts dont want AA there.AA with Boyle and Prust might work .And have an actual energy line for the fourth.And we will send Torts threats if he does not play 4 lines as much as possible.

  11. Rickyrants13 says:

    Mark my words its gonna get real ugly in the Garden when it comes to Torts if things dont change real soon. The second line needs to be broken up NOW even when they are all playing well The line still has no play making puck carrier. Thus making it tough on this line shift after shift just to get the puck up the ice.

    As for Avery Thanks to Torts we will never know what he could have done because the coach is too pig headed to give it a real And I mean real try…

    • The Suit says:

      Torts gave Sean 2 years to get his act together and he didn’t. So Torts did the same thing every other team has done with him.

      • Rickyrants13 says:

        Sorry Suit last year he was not given a fair chance at all. And this year. He gave him no chance at all. Torts will be the one paying for this. One game into the homestand and they were letting him have it. Just wait till the season goes along.

        May be a bit too early but I say this is Torts las as a Ranger baring a miricle…

        • The Suit says:

          Torts will finish this season regardless of what fans think of him. What happens beyond that is anybodies guess.

      • mhurley says:

        Excuse me. Torts HAS NOT given Avery a chance with Richards and Gaborik. But, maybe it’s not Torts call?

        Torts shuffled Avery around up and down the lines for the last two seasons and never used him appropriately and let him do his thing. That is on Torts.

        Rickyrants is right. Suit is wrong on this one. Torts (Sather) is giving non-NHL players like Chritensen and Wolski ice time on the top lines. Is it because he is to damn stubborn and prejudice to face the obvious, that Avery MIGHT be a fit with Richards and Gaborik? Or, could there be another reason?

        As a person Sean Avery might be an asshole. I don’t know him personally. We don’t know what’s going on. Torts may not be playing him because he’s been told Avery is staying in Hartford for the time being. Torts may not have a say in this.

        It is my honest belief that Avery isn’t playing because the league hierarchy has told Sather to bury Avery until after the Winter Classic. Gary and Bill don’t want any controversy ruining their HBO dog and pony show.

        I applaud and support the Fans who put up that banner last night and who chanted “We Want Avery”. Maybe it should have read “Sather to the Whale”

        We will probably never know the truth.

        • The Suit says:

          Im not wrong and neither are you. You’re just in love with Avery and I like players who are coachable. If you “want Avery” go up to Hartford to see him.

          • mhurley says:

            I’ll say it once more. I do not love Avery. I’m just not close minded. A possible answer to this team’s problems at 1st line left wing is staring the coach and GM of this team in the face. They are too obstinate to pursue it.

            If you have a choice of using an “un-coachable” player with talent or a player that may be coachable with little talent, go with the talent.

            Avery has more talent and is a better play maker then either Wolski or Christensen. It’s a proven fact.

            • The Suit says:

              I’m not a fan of Wolski or EC either, but Wolski has put up more goals and points than Avery in less games through out his career. He is more talented, that’s a fact, it’s a stat.

              EC argument weve been through a thousand times on this site. Read this post and let it marinate. The stats don’t lie kido.


              The fact that people are still bringing Sean up is a joke. I mean watch the video of Sean slashing Komi’s ankles, watch the video of him sucker punching Smid. If you want a player who scores 3 goals and pulls that shit on your team go for it. There’s plenty of Whale tickets for sale.

  12. Ray says:

    did the garden fans really want Avery??? Could it have been one of those sarcastic chants like years ago when we would chant LETS GO METS or something else to wake up this team? I agree that this team does not need Avery, but we need that spark that no one seems to be giving to get things going.

    • bob says:

      Couldnt agree more.We need an Avery type.Without the ref bias,offsides and bad penaltiesI want a true energy line as a fourth line not whatever Torts throws there to fill out the roster.I wonder if Torts just came up with some set lines.And just left them for 5 games and played 4 lines all game.If the passes would be on and they would have chemistry.It would never happen with Torts but just curious.

    • The Suit says:


  13. Section 121 says:

    Is PJ Stock available?

  14. Section 121 says:

    Nobody liked my idea to sign Gagne this year…
    Natural LW, 7 points in 9 games so far @ 3.5M…

    • Matt J says:

      Do you think Simon Gagne would fit on this team as far as his style of play?

    • The Suit says:

      That’s a good point. But weren’t you against the Richards signing?

      • Section 121 says:

        yes, I was… still to be determined
        Difference is; Gagne would be a two yr fix, whereas Richards is considered a long term investment.
        I don’t see Richards’ positive impact lasting more than 2 to 3 yrs and then we’re without a top line center again once all the youth is ready.

        Although, if we didn’t mess with Step and just keep him at 3rd line center, he could develop into that player down the road…

    • Dave says:

      Let’s see how many games Gagne actually plays this year.

  15. Walt says:

    The team needs a fire under their collective seats, and I believe the team has tuned out Torts.

    Lets face it folks, coaches tend to burn themselves out, and I believe the guys on this team don’t care for Tort’s style. Should the coach of the Pens ever become available, we should jump on him like stink on poop!

    Last but not least, the officials last night stunk out the place, Calli was pushed into the net, NO GOAL, bull, that should have counted. The call on Dubi, where the leaf d-man droped his stick was as cheesey as you get. Let’s see what happends this week-end against the Sens.

    • bob says:

      I think something is up,I dont think Torts has lost the team.But there is some sort of animosity or something.I thought the refs should have gave them the first goal.The second one was more goaltender interference but I figured they would give it to them after taking the first away.