AV’s new styles showing in Rangers 4-1 loss to Calgary

September 23, 2013, by
(Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News)

(Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News)

Although the Rangers lost tonight’s game in Calgary, we learned a lot of important things about Alain Vigneault and his coaching style. The first, and it’s something we’ve heard a lot about, is that he preaches offense, and getting offense from his defensemen. We saw that on the first goal, when Marc Staal was down by the circles for the goal. We also saw that AV will be a bit more passive on the forecheck, allowing the game to come to his forwards. The surprising part was that AV still ran his 1-2-2 forecheck (Torts ran a 2-1-2) despite being down two goals. Anyway, on to the thoughts from the game:

  • I started watching the game right at the powerplay goal, so that just happened to be perfect timing. It appeared that the goal came from a broken play, but it’s worth noting that Staal snuck in from the far point, something that the Rangers didn’t do much of last year. Staal read the play, saw the scramble in front, and crept in looking for a loose puck. He found it.
  • Brad Richards is making the absence of Derek Stepan have a lesser impact. The Rangers still need him (depth), but Richards is playing like the top line center they paid for two offseasons ago. Everyone here expected him to have a bounce back year, so let’s hope this is the beginning of some good things to come. We also saw how AV will deploy that line a lot in the offensive zone.
  • Marek Hrivik isn’t the sexy name like Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, or Jesper Fast, but his game is so simple. He doesn’t seem lost out there. Kevin thinks he is the perfect guy to make the team while Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are injured, and I’m inclined to agree.

  • That previous statement doesn’t take away from what the hyped up trio can do, but all three are playing their first North American professional season. Hrivik has a year under his belt, and was already on the team’s radar if not for an ill-timed concussion last season. Fast has really been impressive. I thought he would be the one that needs the most time in the AHL, but he’s proving he belongs.
  • The second intermission interview that John Giannone had with Glen Sather was very intriguing. Slats feels that a lot of GMs panic in the bridge-deals and rush to sign their young stars. This part I find interesting, because Slats did mention that every player has signed a bridge-deal. Every forward has signed a bridge deal, but Staal and Ryan McDonagh did not. The market is different for defensemen, but he is incredibly consistent with his forwards. Stepan will get paid, but it’s when he has arbitration rights, not before. Even so, $3 million is more than a 300% increase on his salary last season.
  • Slats also spoke about Richards and how he wasn’t prepared for last season and has a lot of faith in him. This is what we thought as well, and I believe Richards makes the decision to buy him out next season very difficult.
  • The last bit Slats spoke about was developing and playing the kids. Once those kids make the team, they will surround them with appropriate veterans to fill holes. This is something that has been in place for a while (post-first-lockout), but the Rangers finally have enough kids that they can start keeping only the necessary veterans.
  • Face offs. Good lord, win one please. I know these games don’t count, but line matching in the offensive zone doesn’t matter if you can’t control the puck.
  • Arron Asham is making his case to stay in New York. But Darroll Powe is right there with him. Same with Taylor Pyatt. All three played very well in the third, and that one shift with about 11 minutes to go was one of the more impressive shifts I saw this game from either team.
  • Anton Stralman got caught with swivel head syndrome. That third goal, where MDZ was behind the net pressuring the puck carrier, Stralman was just kind of watching the play. Matt Stajan crept in and was side open. Doesn’t help that the aforementioned Asham was behind the goal line as well.
  • Chris Kreider was relatively invisible this game, and Fast replaced him on the top line in the third period. It doesn’t matter if you are given the ice time with the top players, you need to do something with it. The clock, she is-a-ticking.

It’s worth noting that the Rangers appeared to be a step behind the Flames. I only caught the final third of the game, but it looks like that step behind wasn’t limited to the third period. With three more games in four nights, those legs better start getting used to some hockey.

Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Preseason


  1. Bloomer says:

    The Ranger squad better get their wheels going otherwise they will be buried by the lighting fast Oilers.

    • Puck Luck (@Centerman21) says:

      It’s the preseason. Winning or losing doesn’t matter. Always wanna try to win but it’s about the kids fighting to make the team.

  2. Seahorse says:

    idk if its preseason rust but they just looked sloppy and had no backcheck; constant odd man rushes by the flames

    • AdamGravesisTheMan says:

      I’d like to think it’s due to growing pains of implementing a new system and having new faces but I am definitely concerned.

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    As long as av doesn’t panic like torts and start pulling guys back to stop the odd man rushes.

    Let’s be realistic. Without hagelin and especially Callahan in the lineup, it’s going to be a long 20 games till they get back.

  4. AD says:

    Imust have watched a different game, as I thought Richards was substantially ineffective on the ice last night.

    Hrivik looked like an experienced winger with bona-fide NHL soring skill.

  5. Bloomer says:

    The only odd man rushes in this game were against the Rangers, and their was a lot of them.

  6. THN says:

    I did not see Richards improving. He failed to pick up the puck in the offensive zone a on numerous occasions. I wonder if Kreiders lack of involvement is because the Center is throwing him off. The only opportunities that Nash had was when he created his own opportunities. Sorry to bash Richards but I don’t see any improvement.

    Stephan better sign soon in order to get ice time with Nash!

    • AD says:

      It seemed apparent to me as well last evening that Richards’ ineffectiveness had spillover effects on Kreider’s game as well.

      Richards is simply no longer a top 2 center and, unfortunately, we have some deserving youth suitable for the 3rd line position; and D Moore for the defensive-oriented 4th line.

      This is clearly a Drury-type problem whereby a fat contract is forcing minutes to a player who shouldn’t be getting them.

      On a more +ve note, Hrivik looked excellent (as did most of the rookies).

    • Neal says:

      THN: I agree 100% with this statement. I thought Richards, although looked quicker and faster, was still not distributing the puck like he was advertised as. I counted 4-5 turnovers in the first period, one in the defensive zone almost leading to a goal. Unless something changes in the next couple of weeks IMO the Richards Nash combo is just not working. Didn’t look like they had any chemistry together.

      I hate to bash Richards and I really do hope he has a bounce back year. He’s a special player and the team needs him to be a great center. All of these observations come simply from last night’s game.

  7. THN says:

    **** I also noticed that the team last night, who also lost against the Devils, look a lot worst than team number two, who won against the Flyers.

  8. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Dave, I will cordially disagree with you that Richards will make the Rangers decision to buy him out difficult. There’s just no way that contract can be allowed to stay on the books for the next six seasons. I know this. You know this. The Rangers know this.

  9. Dave says:

    I seem to be the only one with high hopes for Richards. I hope I’m right :). This team needs him.

  10. HARLEMBLUES says:

    B.Rich looked older and slower.You don’t get quicker as you get older and the real games will be faster.I agree with THN get B.Rich away from Kreider and Nash.J.Fast looked real good and then he was moved up.The kid looks ready.B.Rich is done and to keep his contract on the books past this year is not wise.The cord should have been cut this summer.

  11. Puck Luck (@Centerman21) says:

    Anyone who looks at that game and says Richards is done is a fool. You can see him getting his legs now and he’s not making bad decisions with the puck. He is a big game player, always has been. When the season starts Oct 3, he’ll be ready to contribute. I also thought Mashinter played his best game as a NY Ranger. Pyatt played for his NY Ranger life last night!

  12. VinceR says:

    Would love to see them playing better hockey, but we should keep in mind that was there 3rd pre-season game, first in almost a week, while the Flames were on their 6th…hopefully this week we start seeing it come together more.

    Would love to see more goals, especially from the top liners…I would start being a little worried if we entered the regular season with an anemic offense (not very at first, long season/new system). I don’t really care about W/L at all in the pre-season, but signs of more life in the attacking zone would be nice.