It’s a musings day once again, and it’s the day after a game day. A Trip to Buffalo. Without further delay, let’s get into it. After all, I have a stag weekend to attend.
The Rangers loss to the Devils; there was still a lot to like. The way they conceded the tying goal hurts, but ask the Phoenix fans about Brad Richards’ game winner a few weeks back and it just shows that luck comes and goes.
The thing that most stood out for me in the Devils game was the amount of high quality chances the Rangers created/had. Credit Brodeur for making several top quality saves but it’s been a while since the Rangers had this many quality chances in one game. Again though it comes down to one thing: conversion.
It’s time to start worrying about Brad Richards. He had a few peaks and valleys through the season but he’s probably playing his worst hockey of the year at the moment. Some people suggest an injury but I’m not sure what to think. One thing is sure though, there’s not a single aspect of his game that’s firing right now. He needs to be better and quickly.
That stag weekend I’m attending? Anarchy is planned. Sunday night will be the peak; Cuban’s, whisky and Superbowl all in abundance. I’m the only Giants fan amongst Miami, Packers, Bears, Buccs and Chiefs fans. Luckily there is no Pats fan although I’m pretty confident my friends will be rooting for the Pats to spite me. And yes, there really is a Chiefs fan here in the UK.
You want an example of how Del Zotto is improving defensively this year? In the first period against the Sabres, his positional play on Kassian was excellent. He kept Kassian out of Lundqvist’s line of sight and allowed Lundqvist to see the shot all the way, making it an easy stop for the goalie. Subtle but solid play from Del Zotto.
How can the Rangers survive subpar seasons from the likes of Anisimov, Richards and Dubinsky? 13 different players have game winners for the Rangers this season. Clutch contributions all over the roster.
Derek Stepan is going through a period recently where he simply cannot get on the score sheet, much like Anisimov. The difference? Stepan is still making plays as evidenced by his great chance in the overtime period against the Devils. How often have you noticed Anisimov make such a notable offensive contribution (regardless of end result). You don’t. I’ve always worried about the influence Anisimov’s fragile confidence has on his game. When he’s on he looks like a potential star but when he’s off, well he’s almost a waste of a roster spot. If this poor stretch goes on much longer his Rangers career may be in threat.
Sometimes it’s the little things that tell you about a player. During the Devils game Ryan McDonagh got to the puck before a Devil to get the icing call. His body positioning was exceptional and there was no way the Devil was getting to the puck first despite coming in quick. McDonagh rarely makes mistakes, is a very heady player and simply put, is a revelation, although you already knew that.
It’s amazing the Rangers haven’t missed Mike Sauer more. Huge credit has to go to the team’s overall commitment to defense– the team wide mindset, as well as the blueline corps. One of the THN writers questioned this week whether this ‘inexperienced blueline’ can keep it going. I have no concerns especially when you factor in Marc Staal getting back to his best.
Mats Zuccarello had a 3 point game in the AHL All Star game. Just saying…..