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One shift at a time

Can the Rangers duplicate what the Flyers did to the Bruins in 2010?

Only three teams in Stanley Cup Playoff history have climbed back from a 3-0 deficit to win their series.  That’s the tall task that now faces the Rangers after they fell to the Bruins on home ice in Game Three, the team’s first loss at Madison Square Garden since March 24th.  Things are looking awfully bleak and it certainly seems unlikely that New York will become the fourth team on that list.

Boston has been doing a lot of things well and has played much better than many expected.  The Bruins’ defense has given the offensively challenged Rangers no time or room to operate, Torey Krug has added a new dimension to Boston’s attack, and the Bruins’ fourth line has abused New York in all three games.

And not much has been going right for the Blueshirts.  The Rangers have had a difficult time generating offense at even strength and have been abominable on the power play (again).  The team’s stars – Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Dan Girardi, specifically – have struggled mightily.  And key injuries to Ryane Clowe and Marc Staal have crippled New York’s ability to get traffic in front and contend with Boston’s depth.

So how can the Rangers still save their season?

At this point, it will take a miracle, especially with another key defender, Anton Stralman, possibly lost for the series.  But all John Tortorella can do is show his club highlights of the Flyers’ comeback against the Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals and advise them to take Game Four one shift at a time.

The Rangers must get bodies in front of Tuukka Rask and get shots from the point and they must find a way to keep Boston from doing the same to Henrik Lundqvist.  They also need their stars to step up and they have to find a way to cash in on some power play opportunities.   The Blueshirts haven’t given us much reason to believe that any of those things are likely, but they’ll need to change that if they hope to play beyond Thursday.

49 Responses to “One shift at a time”

  1. neal says:

    Not sure why torts can’t employ a hybrid of his existing drop down box defense. When the other team (Boston) has a slow defense, why not have guys like Hagelin, Kreider (arguably the two fastest skaters in the NHL) Nash and others are not pressuring the points to make a play Vs dropping down into the box. If they pressure the points, the breakouts and scoring opportunities will be there. Just my two cents.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Mr. Neal,

      Not that I endorse Tort’s low zone collapse (I don’t) but it is hard to argue that the system doesn’t lend itself to pressuring and exposing the B’s defense. Look at game 2- both of our goals (by Cally & Nash) were blueline/ high zone turnovers that we took the other way and converted.

    • Dave says:

      He does. They use a strong side overload, and when the puck gets to the weak side, drop to the box.

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    Claude Julian > John Tortorella.

    We are being outcoached. Heads will roll if we get swept.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      People complain that Torts is a defensive coach all day everyday, when the fact of the matter (as BSB points out often) is that he is not.

      We are being out matched by a deeper team who happens to be run by a defensive coach. The Bruins are like the Devils of old with their 1-2-2/ 1-4 trap style game.

      Julien has the luxury of instilling his defensive system to a deep, healthy, experienced team with minimal roster turnover over the past 2-3 years. One which has won the cup 2 springs ago.

      Torts on the other hand has an injury depleted team with a revolving-door personnel. 2/3’rds pf the faces in his locker room are new since last spring alone. It’s a tall task for any coach.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        He’s not wrong. The Rangers are being outcoached even if what you say is correct. Not sure about the heads rolling part though. I think Tortorella gets a pass in a shortened season.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          I’m not saying that Julien isn’t doing a better job. I’m just pointing out that he has better resources and circumstances to work with.

  3. Walt says:

    Torts walks on water, how dare we be critical of him, his system, and personnality? Dolan is a mental midget, he will give Torts another season, or two, to win.

    Einstein once said doing the same thing, and expecting different results, is insane, or something to that affect! Torts will prove Einstein wrong!!!!!!

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Walt,

      Who do you suppose would be more fit to coach our team at this point in time?

      Please provide 3 replacements who you would rather see behind our bench. Don’t spout off Babcock, Quenneville and Mclellan (3 guys who are the envy of any team in the league) as they are already under contract elsewhere. I’m looking for some realistic replacements. If you can, provide a reason for each (from a systems or approach to the game perspective) to substantiate your response.

      The “fire the coach” crap doesn’t mean anything without a back-up plan.

      • Walt says:

        I’m sorry, at this stage of the game, the Pee Wee coach in town would do!! Hell I don’t know names, but maybe bring back Keenan? You asked for a name.

        • VinceR says:

          First of all, once again, under contract in the KHL next season. Yes, KHL because the NHL doesn’t want him because he hasn’t been associated with any form of success since his one year stint in 94…when he basically left the team hanging, played games, made some BS excuse to ditch on a pay technicality and left us with Colin Campbell.

          For someone who doesn’t like Torts because of his brashness, his toughness on players, your perception that his players hate him (which has never been documented)…you come up with Iron Mike Keenan?! Really?! Was he not labelled as the epitome of that with his teams?!

          • Walt says:

            Hay dude don’t put words in my mouth, my perception that his players hate him. I may have said that he lost the team for calling people out publicly, but I never said that his players hate him.

            You don’t like Keenan, OK, the guy in Vancuver was just let go, so was the guy in Tampa earlier. I’d take either of them over Clarabell the clown that is our current coach.

            • VinceR says:

              So even if their styles don’t fit the personnel, we should just hire anyone willy-nilly and go against what they have been putting together as a strategy for the past couple of seasons. Just throw it all out because of one season that wasn’t really all that terrible given the circumstances.

              • Walt says:

                This system is so exciting, I fall asleep watching the guys slide all over the ice blocking shots, but can’t get out of their zone. Give me a break.

        • VinceR says:

          And no one said he walks on water or is beyond criticism (do me a favor and google “straw man argument”) Just that the issues this season are not all on him…there is plenty of blame to go around along with some valid excuses.

          I’m just willing to see what happens at the start of next season under normal circumstances. I mean hell, only one other team that made it past the first round last year also made it past the first round this year (LA Kings). It’s a weird year.

          Let’s see if the team has any battle left. I know I’ll be at MSG cheering them on. And if not, I’m willing to give a chance at a “normal” season to see what happens next year before calling for heads.

          • Walt says:

            Also, don’t give me the lip service about injuries, short season, no training camp, etc. Just look at the Sens, with all that went wrong with them, how McLain coached that team to where it is, never crying about injuries. As much as I hate the Pens, Crosby goes down, Letang goes down, and the list goes on, yet they win. So blow your attitude up someone else’s rear end, not mine! Every team had the same situation, no camp, injuries, etc. yet we make excuses for this Bozo.

            • VinceR says:

              I’m not saying other teams aren’t in the same boat or that it’s an excuse that covers everything. But I think it’s silly to make major moves this season coming off of an eastern conference finals last year that either team could have won (Rangers score in OT and it goes to Game 7, either team could have went to the finals).

              Like I said, we were the only team besides LA that got past the first round last year to do the same again.

            • VinceR says:

              By the way, Torts never whined about injuries or used them as excuses. The Pens are a super deep team. The Sens finished behind the Rangers in the standings and are exactly where the Rangers are…1 loss away from elimination in the second round. So I’m not sure what you mean about how McLain coached them to where they are.

              The Torts supporters are just saying it’s nuts to make a rash decision on this season. Either way it’s going to be a long summer and season for you if you hate having him as the coach. Because he’s going to be here.

              • Walt says:

                People like you are trying to cover for Torts, simple and sweet. My remark should have been, in spite of all the injuries that the Sens had, they are in the playoffs. Therefore don’t use all these lame excuses about short season, no camp, we’re missing Clowe, Sraal would make a difference, and son on. Well if the rabbit didn’t stop to crap, he would have beat the turtle in their race. Bottom line, this team’s heart isn’t in it, and the head coach should take the responsibility for their short comings.

                I don’t hate Torts. I don’t hate anyone, I just want to win, and we won’t as long as this coach throws people under the bus to CYA!!!!!

              • Walt says:

                VinceR

                By the way, don’t take my remarks personal, I in no means am trying to be disrespectful to you, or anyone else on this site. I don’t hate Torts, but people say he won a cup, he will do it here.

                Yes he won a cup with two top flight centers, Lacavelle (spelling?), a young Richards, St Louis, Boyle, The Russian Wall in goal, the team was loaded, we can’t match that talent level. Also the NHL has changed, the game is different, the players are bigger, you have to change with the times, or die on the vine. Again, if I offended you, sorry, that was not the intention.

    • Dave says:

      Walt, we criticize those that deserve to be criticized. That said, we don’t need to say “Player/Coach X is awful. Fire him.” It’s something we’ve never done.

      When we criticize, we use facts, stats, and past history to do the criticizing. There are ways to be negative without saying “screw him, get him out of here.”

      • Walt says:

        Dave

        With all do respect, everyone wants to win, we are big time fans of this team. Torts system has run it’s course, and that stated, we should replace him with new blood.

        How long did it take to run Renny out of town? I for one thought he was an excelent coach, who lacked talent to work with, but had his team play as good as they could. Based on what we are seeing with this cast, do you honestly believe Torts is getting the best out of these guys, I think not.

        Those are the facts as I see it. I may be dead wrong, don’t have the stats, and or oaching ability, but my gut tells me he should go.

        • Dave says:

          This is a team that went to the Conference Finals last season. Are you really willing to write that off as a fluke?

          How is the full season the fluke, when you have a lockout shortened season this year? Shouldn’t that be the fluke? Given the circumstances, I think Torts did an OK job. Not great, but certainly not bad.

  4. Bob says:

    Like any of you armchair GMs even know what it means to be out coached. Please.

  5. supermaz says:

    Torts needs to go.
    Anyone who needs an explanation to understand why, does not know a thing about hockey and sports in general.

    • Bob says:

      Anyone who can’t explain coaching in detail doesn’t know a thing about coaching.

      • Dave says:

        Fact.

        • Bob says:

          And just so you know Dave. I wasn’t refering to you or Suit. If anything, you two are probably the only people on the damn internet that can break down NHL coaching. Been searching for a site like this for years.

  6. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Walt, supermanz, and the rest,

    Please consider this (taken from an article on Paul MacLean, coach of the Ottawa Senators, on espn.com/nhl):

    Babcock said that sometimes the players would complain that MacLean was a bit gruff with them.
    “But he’s 100 percent the opposite,” Babcock said. “When you make people accountable, that’s a positive interaction.”
    He recalls MacLean telling players, “When I stop yelling at you, that means I’m done with you.”
    “Blowing smoke up someone’s butt isn’t positive, it’s hokey,” Babcock said. “Paul MacLean’s not going to do that.”

    ^^^Babcock is probably THE most respected coach in the NHL and he is praising MacLean for using tactics that many people criticize Tortarella for employing. His approach is gruff but he’s coaching professional athletes for god sakes! They have extreme mental fortitude (in most cases) and should not be coddled.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      And to further cement my point and make everyone’s head spin, taken from the same article(http://espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9299722/2013-stanley-cup-playoffs-long-wait-ottawa-senators-coach-paul-maclean-does-way):


      Big picture, meanwhile, he feels his job isn’t necessarily to teach a system or map out a power play. He’s got lots of good people to help him do that, he said. MacLean believes his main task is to be creating an undeniable identity for his team — something he saw firsthand in Detroit.

      “This is what an Ottawa Senator is. There’s not a whole bunch of things; there’s one picture,” he explained. “That’s what I think my biggest job is to do, is to keep everyone focused on that one picture.”

      ^^^what might be the 1 word the Rangers have used more under the Tortarella regime than any other word? Dare I say, ‘identity’…

      • Dave says:

        I believe there’s a quote in the professional world:

        “Getting yelled at is good. It’s when they stop yelling that you should be worried. It means they’ve given up on you.”

        • Steffen says:

          Fair enough, and other players won’t respond to yelling.
          I don’t need a coach to yell at me when I already know I messed up. I’ll beat up my own head already, and then it can feel as kicking somebody who’s already down. Others respond well to it. That’s where the coaching kicks in…
          How do you treat everybody the same, but still tailor their needs?!?

          • Dave says:

            It’s hockey. These guys should have thick skin. This isn’t the first coach to yell at them.

  7. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    This has evolved into quite an interesting comments section re: firing vs. keeping John Tortorella.

    I fall into the “keep” group, only because this season has been a weird year, and it really is hard to get a good feel for a coach and a team in a shortened season. It’s just not enough sample to make a decision like that.

    However, let’s be sure that with any argument, the issues on both sides are discussed. Some people want Tortorella gone because he’s “gruff” or abrasive. Most, however, I believe want him gone for some of the issues that I’ve seen pop up recently:

    – The power play problems are very real and the continuance of this is a legitimate reason for dismissal. These aren’t new issues.
    – Where are the adjustments? Playing Richards on the PP over and over again is just not working. Playing the Girardi-Del Zotto pairing again after the first two games wasn’t getting it done. Several other Xs and Os adjustments were not made either (adjusting to the Boston breakout which NBC pointed to, lack of pressuring the point on the Bruin’s dmen, unable to adjust to the Bruin forecheck to allow a semblence of a Ranger breakout, etc.)
    – We’ll never know how it actually plays in the lockerroom, but Tortorella’s constant throwing of players under the bus just looks bad. I don’t know if this is a festering issue with the players, but I do know coaches have lost teams for much less (not to mention that players have to answer for those comments to the media and to me, they just create distractions).
    – Lastly, the shortening of the bench just won’t work in the playoffs. It’s the exact thing that got the Rangers knocked out in the ECFs last season. Trust of players is an issue and that needs to be looked at also. It’s as much on the coach as the players to earn trust.

    Again, these are legitimate issues that can certainly be rectified, but let’s make sure they’re cited, and not swept under the rug.

    • Dave says:

      It is very tough to fault a coach when there was significant roster turnover, no training camp, no preseason, a lockout shortened season, and two of his top guys forgot how to play hockey.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        That’s why I think he deserves another season, just wanted to point out that the Tortorella bashing isn’t without *some* merit.

        • VinceR says:

          As one of the more vocal non-blog affiliated Torts supporters, I absolutely agree with you, RFB.

    • VinceR says:

      Just to comment on the shortening of the bench…with the injuries, both before and during the playoffs, our options were limited in rolling all the lines.

      On top of that, versus Boston, the NYR 4th line is being murdered by their 4th line. I think that one of the few options there is to shorten the bench. I also don’t think shortening the bench is as a big deal this year when they are basically in mid season (48 regular games) as far as the length of the season.

      They have no excuse on the power play, but with the way most things have gone, they just seem to be running into themselves no matter what strategy is used. What they need is a PP QB…these were supposed to be Richards (ouch) and DZ (hasn’t quite panned out). Maybe they try to transition Brass into that role, but it is hard to do this late in the season.

      Basically just someone to settle things down and throw an accurate pass that can actually be handled quickly or one-timed…not something in the skates or flying in the air (or on the wrong side of the blue line).

  8. Steffen says:

    Interesting stuff here.

    Regarding the team there is a lot to say, pro and con…
    For example the pp in game two looked a bit more dynamic if I remember correctly but the results don’t show that. Also they looked a bit more relaxed so that space opened up, and then the third period happened.
    If you don’t believe you have a better player for a position or role, why change it… Strallman is not a creator in my eyes, but he can play really well if the game is developing. Zuccarello for example seems to be a creator of play, but he does not really have the stats to back it up consistently, also his icetime changes from 20 minutes the one game to 11 the other.
    Is Torterella throwing people under the bus? Perhaps his word choice in the Hagelin incident wasn’t smart in hindsight, but he said that Hags is a pretty good player, but that he somehow does not fit on the PP. How is that throwing somebody under the bus? (In my eyes it would be something: Hank didn’t stop the puck, he cost us the game…) Although he does speak out what he thinks about certain penalties and stuff…
    BTW remember the HBO series, he tries to show examples of plays and not single out people, even though that may be hard sometimes because people make mistakes.
    I do believe that it takes a team-effort to go deep, but i can also relate to éxploit’ certain match-ups, and end up with certain players playing a heavy load in hindsight…

    Furthermore, about the short season and that everybody have to deal with that. True! But not every team had to deal with half a new roster. When a team has played for a long time with each other is is easy to have certaincies, tendencies and read plays off each other, because you already know the others. One or two supplements probably fit in easily, because it’s probs easier for them to adjust then the whole team. With the change of half a roster… Most of the stability is gone. And that is what Ive seen so far. When they click, the play good and when they don’\t it is hard for them to find their game. And in the shortened season there was not much time to adjust besides between games themselves by practicing.
    I think that if you change the coach right now, you mess with the team only more. I think there is a need for stability right now, which the Rangers did not have this season.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      All very good points. I like to play Devil’s Advocate, and look at both sides of an argument. I happen to think you’re right about the stability of the team and that with all the turnover a change wouldn’t be the right decision.

      At the end of the day, like I mentioned before, it’s a weird season, and weird things happen in a short season, but there are issues I believe need to be looked at, and remain hopeful that they will.

  9. Arisrules says:

    Torts should be fired simply for the PP. That it has gotten worse despite having better players is a testament to his failures.

    • Dave says:

      Again, Torts doesn’t work on the PP. Sully does.

      • Walt says:

        Dave

        Who is responsible for the team, the head coach. If Sully can’t do the job, one of two things happen, replace him, or do it yourself. You can’t be a teflon coach, ala John Gotti. The buck has to stop at the head coaches feet. If this were a single season issue, well we give him the benefit of dought. It’s been going on for years, and with some very talented guys, Gabby, Richards, Nash just to name a few, with the same results zippo. Just a little pun there about Gotti, nothing personal!!

      • Arisrules says:

        That is the most inane justification ever, and if Torts, the former PP specialist coach, can’t influence the PP unit, then he should have been fired from the moment he was hired because he has no control of his team.

        This team is great on 5 v 5. If we were even average on the power play, we would be a very difficult team to beat.

        And the other thing is that after next season Lundqvist is a UFA. If you are him, and you have to go through yet another year of Torts nonsense, waht do you do? Do you really resign with the Rangers? No. You look to move, maybe even the Islanders. If Lundqvist was on a half-decent team, he’d have several Vezinas by now, and probably a Cup or two.

        Sather has to move on Torts.

        • Walt says:

          Thanks, at least someone is in my corner!

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          “If Lundqvist was on a half-decent team, he’d have several Vezinas by now”….

          Have a link for the empirical data which substantiates your absolutely absurd claim? Put Lundy on another team that has much less emphasis on player accountability in the defensive zone and he will be a perennial Vezina winner.

          Here are some stats of his which basically look at shots against during his tenure in the NHL. It doesn’t really support my guess that he faces less shots than many other goalies, as he is perennially in the top 3rd of the league in shots against and 4 out of the last 5 years he is among the top 5 busiest netminders in the NHL.

          Yr SA Rank GP SA per Gm
          2012-13 1190 4 43 28
          2011-12 1753 13 62 28
          2010-11 1965 5 68 29
          2009-10 2109 3 73 29
          2008-09 2007 3 70 29
          2007-08 1823 10 72 25
          2006-07 1927 9 70 28
          2005-06 1485 15 53 28

          However, in the past few years it is not uncommon for the Vezina winner to be busy:

          Yr Vez Winner SA Rank
          2011-12 Lundy 1190 4
          2010-11 Thomas 1811 10
          2009-10 Miller 2098 4
          2008-09 Thomas 1694 12
          2007-08 Brodeur 2089 4
          2006-07 Brodeur 2182 2
          2005-06 Kiprusoff 1951 5

          In other words, if not for Boston’s system which allows minimal shots on goal, the Vezina winner since the lockout has been among the top 5 busiest in the NHL…. so wouldn’t this suggest that Lundy is in a good spot to be a perennial Vezina winner?

          Any info which you could provide which spells out how he would be better suited to collect hardware elsewhere would be appreciated.

          (I hope my #s tables come out nicely…. if not, I apologize)

  10. Kannad Marine 2.5 says:

    Blue Seat Blogs » One shift at a time