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Twitter Bag: Stu Bickel, the powerplay, and more

May 7, 2012, by

So we get a lot of questions on Twitter, and it is unfortunate that we cannot always respond to every question. In an attempt to address the most popular questions, we are going to start with these “Twitter Bag” posts, where we answer some of the more consistent questions we get on Twitter. We love addressing these, so keep them coming, and we will do everything we can to answer each question sent to us.

Q: Why is Stu Bickel playing still? Wouldn’t Jeff Woywitka or Steve Eminger have a better effect?

A: It’s tough to really say why Bickel is still in the lineup. He played better on Saturday with double the normal amount of ice time, but his usual three minutes don’t really give him an opportunity to be a difference maker. Tortorella likes him because of his physical ability, which is something that neither Woywitka nor Eminger really have. Eminger is ahead of Woywitka on the depth chart, so we can essentially eliminate Woywitka from the occasion (barring injury). In terms of ability, Eminger is a marginally better skater thanĀ  Bickel, but it is clear Torts likes the latter. I think the club can benefit from having someone like Eminger take more than three minutes of ice time, but only if Torts trusts him to do so.

Q: Why did Torts bench Chris Kreider? Isn’t that sending the wrong message?

A: I’m in the minority that agrees with the benching. The club is in a tough spot of trying to teach the kid on the fly while winning games in the playoffs. That turnover –and Hank’s flub– was the direct cause of the goal. Every other youngster that Torts has coached has seen significant time on the bench when similar mistakes are made. It would be a coaching inconsistency to not bench Kreider. Lesson learned. He won’t do it again.

Q: What is wrong with the powerplay?

A: This is a tough question to answer. With Saturday being the exception, the Rangers powerplay hasn’t looked terrible, but they have two problems. The first is that they aren’t shooting enough, and when they are, they aren’t taking quality shots. The second is that they are prone to standing still. That’s less of a coaching problem and more of a personnel problem. The players need to know when to shoot. They also need to learn that a static powerplay is easy to defend. Personally, I’d like to see Carl Hagelin and/or Chris Kreider on the powerplay to see what they can do. Even if it’s just them doing dirty work along the boards –like Hagelin does for Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik at even strength– it will go a long way to helping with the man advantage.

Q: Will Alex Ovechkin get suspended for his hit on Dan Girardi?

A: No, he won’t. The general inconsistencies and excuses the league has given when it comes to suspensions is laughable. The precedent was set by Ovechkin when he was suspended for three games for leaving his feet to deliver a check. This hit was in the same mold. The NHL suspends by the result, not by the action. Girardi wasn’t hurt and didn’t miss a shift. There won’t be a suspension.

Q: What do the Rangers need to win this series?

A: More shots from Gaborik.


  1. ranger17 says:

    Move Cally up to BR and Gabby and put Hags with Stepan and Kreider . Lets see if speed can burn . And Boyle and Prust don’t play well apart. AA Boyle Prust Mitch Rupp Feds altough feds needs to get more than 4 min a game

    • bigfaninshanda_ken says:

      I love this blog and I love your line choices. Expect all 4 lines improve this way. Expect Blue to dominate this game.

  2. The Suit says:

    It’s amazing people already want to see Kreider get special treatment. If you make a turnover that leads to a goal, you get benched. Plain and simple. I’m sure the kid got the message and will be better off for it. Surprised we are in the minority on this one.

    • Dave says:

      People seem to think accountability only applies to veterans.

      • Matt J says:

        I think people say “oh, he’s a rookie, it happens”. They think Torts would have the same reaction which he didn’t.

        My thing is what if Dubinsky was playing and did that? Everyone would be calling for his head and want him to be scratched (some already say he should), and if Torts benched him for it they’d completely understand and be for it.

        Rookies need to learn and benching is one way to learn. I’m behind Torts 100%.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          Bench him if the mistake is repeated or lack of effort.Callahan doesn’t get the puck out on the winning pp goal no excuses does he get benched tonite.Kreider could have helped if he played more. why is Mitchell getting pp time come on.The pp,spacing, a 1-3-1 set-up create 3 on 2’s or 2 on 1’s in the o-zone with quick passing, strong side to weak side and the man in the high slot.The 2 men on the half wall slide up and to create seams in the D set-up,the man in the high slot keeps the D honest,the man by the goalie screens him or moves off to either of the goalie.The puck moves high/low weak side strong side quickly looking to attack a seam which will open by moving the puck quickly.

  3. Mark says:

    Wouldnt mind seeing Anisimov being promoted for his solid play this series as well…

    I think the Ranger need to start faking some shots, the Caps are going down as soon as we even think about shooting… and they are devouring our shots and then clearing, its frustrating to watch… maybe a nice shot fake and move, McDonaugh does it pretty well… could lead to some better chances…

    On the refs issue, I think Torts has taken the high road and i would be shocked if we don’t have more PP chances this game. We are home and clearly deserving, it usually evens out in the end.

    • Walt says:

      We all can wish for miracles!

      Torts has taken the high road even in the Sens series, but didn’t get any consideration for that, now did he?

      • bigfaninshanda_ken says:

        Look, I’m new here and probably not as astute as most of you, but I too bleed Ranger blue-blood. Here’s my take on this season. This team excites me! They may not even get beyond Caps, but their potential is unlimited! Can’t name one player who I think deserves “goat horns” in either series. They/We win or lose as a team! On my way to Cancun for a destination wedding for my sis’s kid. Don’t know how I’ll survive. Have watched at least some games in every playoff series this year. Isn’t it great to have them all on air!?

  4. Walt says:

    Welcome abord, the more, the merry!!

  5. Pasquale says:


  6. Billrabatin says:

    On the PP Richards is a puckhog..He holds on to it for too long ,drifts around too much and his passes are not crisp.The other players are static and there is rarely anyone in the crese.

    PS why allow Richards to take ANY faceoffs,his records is horrible?