Rangers/Stars Thoughts

December 13, 2011, by

This was a bit of a boring game, as the Stars are a defensive minded trapping team with a few offensive weapons, and forced the Rangers to play their way. That should sound familiar, it’s how the Rangers played in the latter half of the Tom Renney era. In the end, it was a bad turnover by Jeff Woywitka that cost the Rangers the game. Losses happen.

The Stars did what they do best: trap the opposition and capitalize off turnovers. Losses happen, and this is still a good streak by the Rangers. Remember that this is a tough eight game stretch (starting with the first Tampa game), where I said that if the Rangers go 5-3 it should be considered a success. They are currently 3-2-1, with games against St. Louis and Phoenix still to come. And they are doing this without Marc Staal or Mike Sauer.


  • It’s kind of ironic. The Rangers had the puck seemingly all game, but couldn’t solve the defensive setup or the goaltender. It’s like deja vu back to the Renney days, it really is. The Rangers played a good game, but they got beat. It happens.
  • The rush by Carl Hagelin that led to his charging penalty (more on that below) was a great way of Hagelin to showcase his speed, and why speed is such a dangerous weapon. Most goalies don’t come out to play the puck like that, and it was a good opportunity for Hagelin and the Rangers.
  • The powerplay looked very good this game, and that’s how it has been looking for the past month or so. They moved the puck well, found open ice, and got shots on net. There were a few times (cough, Stepan, cough) where they should have shot the puck, but they got too cute and passed it around too much.
  • Of course by the above statement, I mean every powerplay except that last one where they didn’t move at all.
  • At the beginning of the game, Artem Anisimov made a nice little play to take the puck away from the Stars at the blue line, and then made a nice pass to Marian Gaborik. There was no shot on goal, but both the takeaway and the pass were nice plays by Anisimov, who had a good game.
  • It seems that the Rangers get better and better as the game goes on. I’m not sure if that’s because of coaching adjustments or if it’s because the Rangers are just that much more conditioned, but getting better as the game goes on is a great team quality to have.
  • For such a low scoring game, there were a lot of odd man rushes. It’s a product of turnovers and great defensive plays on the odd man rushes.
  • The Rangers had a lot of opportunities off rebounds that Richard Bachman was leaving, but they bounced just out of reach of their sticks. It happened all game too, just really bad luck.


  • How many people pooped themselves when Henrik Lundqvist slumped and was hurt after the Sheldon Souray shot? As I was saying on Twitter, that kind of shot, the heavy shot that Souray has makes it difficult to shake that off. The padding doesn’t help that much, especially on those shots up high (or in the junk).
  • There were two instances where Anton Stralman rushed the puck into the zone (good), but no Ranger forward moved back to cover for him (bad). The Rangers are lucky they didn’t get burned on those.
  • Aside from Hank’s pain in the second, the Rangers as an organization held their breath when Ryan McDonagh went head first into the boards in the second period. They then held their breath again when Steve Eminger took a puck to the midsection. This team can’t afford to lose anymore defensemen.
  • Speaking of Stralman, he played a great game. His best as a Ranger. Good to see him finding his stride.
  • Speaking of Eminger, he played a great game too. He has really stepped up in Mike Sauer’s absence.
  • Michael Del Zotto saved the game for the Rangers with his backcheck on Eric Nystrom while the Rangers were on the powerplay. He harassed him just enough to force his shot to miss the net.
  • As great of a goal as that was for Dallas (great passing), Jeff Woywitka turned the puck over with a lazy pass through the neutral zone. That goal should not have happened.


  • Let’s start with the charging call on Hagelin in the first period. That is, as Rick Carpiniello has said before, the epitome of the ‘pansification’ of the game today. All three players involved made great plays, and there was incidental contact. This is hockey, there is going to be contact, especially when the goalie is that far out of the crease. But the refs, fresh off the Milan Lucic incident, made a terrible call on Hagelin, despite his attempt to stop.
  • The officiating in this game was atrocious. Aside from the Hagelin gaffe, the call on Steve Ott –the tripping call after the Del Zotto incident– was just funny because he didn’t trip him, and the offsides call when Dan Girardi kept the zone were just as bad. I’m trying to think if it has always been this bad, or if we just see it more because we have better replay angles.
  • The Stars get by with solid defense and a trapping style, which they showcased to a tee tonight. Unfortunately for the Stars, the Rangers have the best goalie in the world and the defense to match that type of low scoring game.
  • That kid Bachman in net for the Stars was fantastic. He matched the best goalie in the world save for save, and has really been something for the Stars, who were desperate with Kari Lehtonen on the shelf for the foreseeable future and Andrew Raycroft not being able to play the position.
  • For the most part, the Stars played a 1-2-2 hybrid trap, but switched to a 1-4 while protecting that one goal lead. It worked. And it has been working for them all year. That’s how a team wins games despite a negative goal differential. They also clogged the middle all game, and it looked like more of a collapsing box towards the end of the game.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. Alex says:

    i think this was one of del zotto’s best games of the season, even if he wasnt on the score sheet. i noticed him everytime he was on the ice and he made some very strong plays. nice back check on nystrom too. now only if he can hit the damn net…

  2. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I wonder if people will complain that it was Woywitka’s fault on the Stars goal. It was just a horrible bounce of the boards, he hit a dead spot and had an unfortunate bounce. Agreed it was a boring game

    • The Suit says:

      Part of the problem was Dubi collided with a Star and went down leaving the third man high wide open. The Rangers coverage broke down as a result. Jeff made the errant pass, but it was a team breakdown.

  3. bob says:

    Fair assessment of the the game.Was pretty boring,not much quality offensive opportunities.DelZotto played great tonight,and the last two weeks.I heard he was told by Torts to play more physical a couple weeks ago.And I think that has helped his game even more.Eminger has also played better since getting more minutes.The D has played great considering.The Rangers played a decent game,just didn’t take it to the net enough.

  4. Agentsmith says:

    they did a great job on gaborik. other then mcd shorthanded, i cant remember any grade A scoring chances. somehow we had 34 SOG. im not sure how.

    i always get nervous facing new goalies. just like the yankees always struggle vs. pitchers they havnt seen.

    wtvr on to st louis.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      I had us with 11 scoring chances tonight. Only ‘grade A’ one, though I don’t record them as such, was the McDonagh/Prust 2 on 1 where McDonagh ripped a high hard shot that Bachman just got the glove in time while coming across. Fantastic save it was.

  5. JohnnyD says:

    Where was the spark tonight, where was the emotion? Sitting in the stands as a healthy scratch #16 Sean “the blacklisted” Avery.

    • Spozo says:

      I’m sure Avery and his 4 minutes of ice time would have really sparked this team. I still don’t get why everyone make such a big deal about a 4th line player. That’s my biggest issue with Avery. Its not even a question on whether he should lace up every game, it’s that a 4th line player garners this much attention.

      • The Suit says:

        Amen Spozo, amen

      • Mikeyyy says:

        3 words for you why you should make a big deal about a 3rd or 4th liner

        Matteau!! Matteau!! Matteau!!

        Your first two lines get you to the playoffs, your 3rd and 4th lines win the Stanley cup for you.

  6. Mikeyyyy says:

    I don’t think I need to put the Avery effect win loss record out there.

    Avery comes in, we go on a great win streak, Avery comes out, we play like garbage after one game.

    I don’t really care that he gets 4-6 minutes a game because our headstrong coach can’t admit when he is wrong.

    “We want Avery”. “We want Avery”

    It’s not just his impact on the ice, it’s his impact off the ice and on the bench.

    Torts needs to start understanding that.

    My prediction, rangers start dropping games till torts realizes that there aren’t many other players left on the roster better than Avery.

    And if he thinks he can keep treating a player like this, and not lose a locker room which adores Avery. He might just need to start looking to get back into television. For all his strengths, his inability to let go a little and let the players play is his Achilles heel.

    • The Suit says:

      I can’t wait for Avery to be out of this organization so I can stop reading derivative comments like these.

      • yreva says:

        be fair suit, this is new material. a positive impact off the ice and in the locker room? points for creativity!

      • Mikeyyy says:

        your star goaltender is best friends with him. He isn’t going anywhere.

        • The Suit says:

          Another pro Avery comment with air tight logic. Avery will definitely be on the roster next year because Hank is friends with him.
          Good luck with that bro.

          • Mikeyyy says:

            And he’s already stated he will only play for the rangers for the league minimum.

            Would you take avery for bottom dollar?

            Sather would. I will stick by my logic.

            You make your star players happy period.

            Lundquist and Avery are business partners as well.

            It will go like this.

            Lundquist – glen this is hank. I want avery on the roster.
            Sather. – league minimum, great role player. And you will be happy. Done. Best 600k I ever spent.

            Don’t hate avery because he has nicer ties than you. love him because he bleeds ranger blue.

            • The Suit says:

              I like Avery, but I’m not naive enough to think that he will be resigned because he and Hank are buddies. I think building a roster to win a Stanley Cup is a bit more complex than that. But if that is what you want to believe then go for it.

              • Mikeyyyy says:

                Nice. I’ make derivative comments. I’m naive. And I’m illogical.

                I’m also a paying fan. And like a lot of other die hard fans. I like Avery. He’s good for new york and the rangers. I can’t wait for him tobe re- signed so you can stuff that tie in your mouth. Avery sells. And hockey is a business. No way Sather let’s him go when he can sign him for the leagueminimum.

                Oh yeah
                Now why would you get rid of a reason to love new York.

              • The Suit says:

                When we write about Avery we at least make an attempt to prove our points with stats and analysis.

                The best thing you can say about Avery is that he has an ability to get under the opposition’s skin and throw them off their game. And you haven’t even mentioned that? Where’s the thoughtful analysis? Telling me to stick my tie down my throat because you don’t agree with me isn’t really proving your point.

                You’re smarter than this kido. I expect more from you.

        • VinceR says:

          Oh Mikeyyy, you had to bring up Henke…hey, didn’t you say something last April about Henke?:

          “We went to a defensive system cause Hank was getting scored on. Too many 2 on 1s. Too many second chances.

          Hank is great but not an elite goaltender. The team has had to become defensive to cover his flaws. Even in the playoffs he looked shaky.

          We sacrificed health of players to block shots so Hank would not have to face them. We let gabby get stuck in a defensive system because Hank needed help.

          From looking at these things. One can logically assume the problem lies in goaltending.

          Take away the defensive system and Hank would be middle of the pack in stats. Even Tom renney knew that.

          I think at this point we have to consider even moving Hank.

          This isn’t because I think he sucks, but he’s no mike richter. He’s just not worth 7.75 million per year. For that money I expect my goaltender to stand on his head to block a shot. Can’t stop the 2 on 1, gives up softies, plays well positionally, too deep in the net and can’t stop a rebound shot. Hence the defensive system to make sure those don’t happen. Renney knew it, torts discovered it. Warner can correct it.”

          I believe that’s what it was, but who could be sure.

    • Agentsmith says:

      so somehow avery woulda changed the way dallas was defending in front of their net and controlling the blueline. i dont think the rangers lacked passion or anything. in fact we controlled the game-flow. this is a ranger team thats tends to do better in high scoring affairs then nailbiters. (for a change) i dont think avery changes any of that. can we get rid of him allready?

  7. Walt says:

    This coming from an Avery fan, enough already, please. Sure I would have liked him in the line up last night, but the outcome would probably have been the same.

    The game left a whole lot to be desired! There in the begining of the third, how many icings were there? The tempo almost put me to sleep, and the game lacked any emotion to speak of. Watching Gabby skating, with a shadow, reminded me of the way the Canadians played the Hawks, Hull always had Rejean Houle on him like stink on poop!

    Thursday will be the Blues, with Hitchcock coaching, they are going to be tough to play against. We need for the boys to get out there, with fire in their collective guts, and play the type of game that they are capabile of.

    Dubi, again, lighten up on your grip, hold the stick a little less tightly, and you’ll get your scoreing touch. I hate to se this kid go through this ordeal, just score, it will all change!

  8. Walt says:

    Just a quick thought, has anyone noticed how many concussions we have heard of this season? Staal, Sauer, Crosby again, Pronger, Giraux (spelling?), Shenn. I can never remember so many top flight players going down like this year, it is spooky!!

    • VinceR says:

      I don’t think the league (or any league for that matter) was diagnosing them properly prior to this season.

      • The Suit says:

        Agreed. What’s available to us in terms of knowledge is much greater in the past few years, even months.