Thoughts following last night’s win in Dallas

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

I know you just had the musings yesterday, but I have a bunch of thoughts I want to share that aren’t worth a full post.  Deal with it.  Here’s some thoughts following the Rangers 3-2 win in Dallas last night…

  • Is there really anywhere to start but with Hank?  The King was absolutely out of his mind last night.  Watching the game, there were several times I found myself gasping at his awesomeness.  Dare I say he out Tuukka’d Tuukka’s performance from the other night.  Hank’s positioning was spot on, he tracked the puck exceedingly well, and he hung with very tough second and third chances.  He was an absolute wall.
  • Man, it’s nice to have Rick Nash back.  I absolutely love watching the guy play.  His size, speed, and fluidity are all sorely missed when he’s out of the lineup.  He has this way of just mesmerizing opposing D-men as he nonchalantly glides into the zone.  I can totally understand why sometimes his teammates just stand around and watch him.
  • Marty Biron is such a quality addition to the post game crew.  He’s incredibly articulate and obviously has a wealth of experience around the game.  He is able to see things in the modern system that guys like Duguay and Maloney didn’t experience during their playing days.  Terrific hire by the MSG crew.
  • What is with Ranger pundits’ obsession with team toughness?  First of all, its such an incredibly vague term that two adjacent bloggers talking about it could easily have completely different concepts in mind.  If a team can possess the puck, pressure the opposition physically, all while generally controlling the play, who cares if they have fighters or guys who can spend half the game in the box “defending” their teammates.
  • I believe that the key to Brad Richard’s resurgence has been the return of his first step.  He looks so much more explosive when he takes off after a puck, or joining the rush on a transition.  He still needs to be bought out, mind you, but he could have a key role to play for this squad before he goes.
  • I hate Kari Lehtonen’s stance.
  • Chris Kreider needs to shoot more.  Kid’s got a nasty wrister (yes, I know his goal was deflected) and needs to use it.
  • I’m in agreement with Suit (crazy, huh?) on MDZ’s decision to pinch last night.  If that’s the type of play AV wants his defensemen to make, you can’t fault Del Zotto for being aggressive.  It looks ugly on the replay, but we barely notice it when it works and the pressure can continue to be applied in the offensive zone.  Brassard also sliding over was the bigger mistake there.
  • Isn’t it weird that 22 games in, we are still yet to see a shootout? Also, only one overtime game?
  • Henrik Lundqvist.  That is all.

32 Responses to “Thoughts following last night’s win in Dallas”

  1. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Good win. It feels so different when your goalies steals a game vs. the other way around.

    The Rangers can’t let up at all, what’s up with the Flyers right now? They weren’t as bad as they showed early, but I don’t think they’re this good either. And you can never count out the Devils. The division is still weak, but is looking like a couple of teams won’t go away as we pass the quarter mark of the season.

    I really think the NHL has to change the scoring system. I still think it’s crazy that some games are worth 2 points and others 3. How does that make any sense? Go back to 3 points for regulation wins.

    I like the idea of expanded overtime, if only for an extra 2-3 minutes.

    • Centerman21 says:

      I think the GM’s are discussing either another 5 mins of 4 on 4 consecutive or in another period after a short break. Some GM’s have said they want a 5 min 3 on 3. That I don’t like. Kind of dumb but 10 mins of 4 on 4 would be nice. You’d see less games go to a Shootout. What I think the NHL should do is give both teams the point after the OT period. Then they could do away with the ROW tie breaker. I hate that tie breaker. Wins should be the 1st tie breaker. If you lose in OT you get nothing. I feel there’s enough parody in the NHL.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Basically, you’re saying go back to ties. I don’t mind that:

        2 points regulation or overtime win
        1 point for tie

        Suits me fine.

        • Chris A says:

          Sadly, the NHL will never do away with the current point system as it allows more teams to hang around the playoff picture and in turn sells a few more tickets for mediocre/bad teams.

      • hatrick swayze says:

        I used to agree with you in writing off 3v3 overtime periods. But I recently changed my mind. The nj La game last night gave a glimpse of what it would look like. Jagr and Brown got coincidental minors in ot so we got to see 2 minutes of 3v3. It was exciting, man on man, creative hockey. And to my suprise players didn’t really seem more tired despite having to cover more ice. 3v3 sounds dumb but it worked. It offers a different perspective to watch a hockey game. I honestly think the casual fan would enjoy it more than a shootout. So would all regular and hardcore fans. Find some highlights on YouTube. You’ll be on the edge of your seat. La had Kopitar Doughty and Richards on out at one for crying out loud. Think about who chi would put out. The pens. Van with the Sedin twins.

  2. Chris F says:

    BSB,

    What do you make of the discrepancy between faceoffs won and puck possession in the last couple of games?

    The old axiom goes that you can’t control possession without winning faceoffs, so the measure of possession would focus on faceoff and shot differentials.

    In the Boston game the other night, the Rangers out puck-possessed the Bruins by large margins, doubled them up on shots, and yet Bruins won over 50% of the faceoffs.

    Last night, though Dallas ended up with more faceoffs at the end of the game, the first period the Rangers won some +60% of faceoffs, and were outshot 23-6 and were completely dominated on overall possession.

    Are these just the occasional anomalies where, despite losing faceoffs, the faster, more aggressive teams still ends up dominating possession?

    • Dave says:

      Face offs are important, that’s for sure. But I believe some statistical analysis was performed (by better minds than us) that they don’t correlate to possession.

  3. Chris F says:

    Justin,

    Could you elaborate on your disdain for team toughness? I see you put defending in quotations (as in “defending” your teammate).

    While I completely agree that the age of one-dimensional enforcers is long-gone, you can’t argue that there isn’t still a need for players to police the game and, at times, yes, defend a teammate.

    The Rangers, for example, must physically challenge and punish any opponent who appears to be taking liberties with certain players, for example Nash for his elite skill and Zuccarello for his diminutive size.

    Is this unreasonable? It doesn’t mean that the Rangers need John Scott “toughness.” But, they do need to be fierce competitors willing to stick up for one another. No one survives the playoffs who isn’t willing to play that way.

    • Dave says:

      Toughness is the ability to use the body and outwork your opponent in the blue collar areas. Sure, you need someone who will drop the gloves, but only at the right time.

      Remember Kreider’s bone headed penalty? That’s not needed. Wins > retribution.

      • Chris F says:

        Yea, I agree with that. Just wondering why Justin seems to view defending your teammate as something that warrants quotations, as if it’s never honorable or within the context of the game.

        Not trying to be snarky, looking for an honest elaboration of Justin’s viewpoint as it comes across as a bit condescending in the post.

        • Justin says:

          Chris, it’s not so much a commentary about what’s going on on the ice, but more a critique of bloggers/commenters who bemoan the lack of toughness when a player is victimized or injured. Yes, teammates need to have each other’s backs, but not having a guy ready to destroy any opposing player who steps up doesn’t mean the team isn’t built for a cup run.

          • Chris F says:

            Ok I can accept that.

            Let me rephrass, though. Do you think that the Rangers can physically withstand a series against the Boston Bruins and then a final against LA Kings, for example? Do you NY’s star players would become frequent targets of abuse?

            • Justin says:

              I do. Would it hurt to add a Ryane Clowe type at the deadline this year? Absolutely not. I just don’t accept the argument they are dead in the water as currently constructed from a physicality standpoint.

              • TxRanger says:

                you think we should add some over age guy with nagging injuries and no goals, so he can score in his first game, fight a few guys, then get hurt, miss the playoffs, and then sign with a rival for more money?

  4. Ray V says:

    My own musings…. =)

    Im with you on most points, but…..

    There is pinching and there is SMART pinching. MDZ is making me cringe more and more. Watch Girardi, McD or Staal when they pinch. Have to disagree with both you and the suit in this one. If I have been a healthy scratch for a few games and know I am in the dog house with the coach, I would be a lot smarter about when I pinch. MDZ knew he screwed that one up bad. Look at his face on the bench right after the goal.

    If Richards would throw a check once in a while I would be more of a fan. Zucarello throws more checks in a game than Richards does in a year. Im starting to hate the guy like I hated Gaborik. They both kill more OZ puck control than any other players. I wish there was a stat for the last player to touch the puck before the other team takes over. Watch closely…I am not crazy =)

    Not counting last nights game since Hank stole this one for us, how many times do we hear Sam Rosen say “Boyle shoots…he missed the net”. I know he is not a sniper, but please BB, imagine how many goals you may have if you just hit the target. That said…still love him.

    Nash is SCARY !!!! love it !!!!

    Kredier had me worried for a while. Thought he was going to be a dud. I think once he finally got it in his head that he can throw his weight around with the big boys he put it in high gear. He is only going to get better than what we are seeing so far.

    I would be happy if Pyatt doesn’t return.

    I miss Prust.

    • Dave says:

      Dorsett > Prust. There. I said it.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      The system calls for pinching in and having a forward rotate back. Forward didn’t rotate back. Why is that mdzs fault?

      • Chris A says:

        I agree Mikey, the only thing I would fault MDZ for on that play was that he was a little late in making the decision to go. If Brassard read the situation properly he would have retreated to cover MDZ and we might not even be talking about this.

      • Ray V says:

        Mikeyyy

        Beliveme me I love AVs system. My point is that the difference between a smart pinch and a not so smart pinch is assessing the situation and the TIMING. Is Chris says below this…he was a bit late and thats timing. That is what MDZ needs to learn. He will still get beat from time to time, it happens to everyone. But let it be on a bad puck bounce or losing an edge, not on the timing of the pinch.

    • Walt says:

      Ray

      Your point on MDZ is spot on. I tried to say he didn’t make a smart play on an earlier post, and some people came to his defense. Opinions are what they are! I’m in your corner, MDZ is slow, and I believe he may be a mental midget when it comes to hockey decision making!!

      • VinceR says:

        I mean AV himself said he didn’t mind MDZ’s pinch, so I’m not sure why we are still arguing with it…it’s the move he is supposed to make according to his own coach.

      • Ray V says:

        My point is only in the smartness of his pinch…which is all about timing. Thanks Walt

    • Bob says:

      “It’s all Brass (Derick Brassard), it has nothing to do with Del Zotto,” Vigneault said. “His read is the right one. The goaltender rims the puck, he’s got to keep the puck in, go down the wall and the F3 (forward three) is Brass, that’s his play. If he just goes right behind him, picks up the puck and throws it back in, instead he goes to the same man.” – AV

  5. Bloomer says:

    Nash does give the Ranger squad another offensive weapon good to see him back and healthy. Is it just me, but every time the Zukeman is on the ice, he hustles back and makes good defensive play. Lundquist played awesome last night, but to earn the big dough, he needs to be more consistent which he hasn’t been so far this season. The more money a player earns, the higher the expectations, sorry but that’s how it works in the real world.

  6. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Hank and Talbot have been outstanding, though Hank of late…earlier in the season he had some struggles…I think he has gotten used to the new equipment and it shows.

    The best Ranger line is the Stepan line with Zucc and Kreider I think Brassard needs to be with Nash and Hagelin. Richards with Callahan and Boyle and the 4th line of Moore with Dorsett and Pyatt

    Best defensive pairing is Staal and Stralman and when Girardi gets better Then automatically McDonagh makes the #1 pair with Girardi.

    All three of Moore, Falk and Del Zotto are good too but vast improvements could be had by all 3 with lesser to Moore

    • hatrick swayze says:

      I’d like to see those forward lines used fora game or two. Hagelin was a catalyst for so many good things last year

  7. Spiderpig says:

    Who is Brad Richard?

  8. Chris A says:

    Justin, regarding Richards, I readily admit that I was in the Buyout Brad camp this summer. But seeing the way he revitalized his game by getting into shape I think a compliance buyout is no longer needed.

    The one fear I had with Richards was that he was really done and that there was no way he was going to hang around the NHL for the life of his contract, making the Cap Recapture Penalty a likely scenario. Now that he proved he can still perform at a decent level I cannot see him retiring before he’s 39, 39 is important because that’s when his contract ends.

    At this point I can see Richards playing another 2 or 3 years on the Rangers and then being dealt to a team with cap space. Remember, Richards only makes $3M his last three years. A “Salary Floor” team like Florida would jump at a contract like that, all the cap hit and none of the spending. Of course it would require Richards to waive his NMC but that should not be impossible. Veteran players understand if you do right by the Rangers organization they take care of you during your retirement years.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Couldn’t disagree with you more. Richards has had a nice resurgence, but it’s relative to what he provided last season.

      His scoring has slowed down since his great start to the season, his two way play has left much to be desired, and his cap hit is $6.67M which just isn’t reasonable asset management for a team that looks to win a cup.

      He’s not going to get better as he gets older. Let’s not overthink this.

  9. Bloomer says:

    Has Colorado coach Patrick Roy been giving Semyon Varlamov marital counselling? Just thinking out loud here.

  10. Craig says:

    When Nash gets elbowed in the head they will again wish they had an enforcer.
    The Rangers won (thanks to King Hendrick) but were completely outplayed from start to finish.
    Outhustled and outclassed on this one but we’ll take it!