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The Musings: Several Rangers standing out

Will the real Rick Nash please stand up.

Will the real Rick Nash please stand up.

As Rangers fans bask in the glory of a scrappy but successful series victory over the Flyers there’s not much time to look ahead to the Pens series. With that said, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on the Rangers so far.

Benoit Pouliot coming on strong

Pouliot has taken costly penalties and is anything but a complete player, but as the year has gone on Pouliot has developed into a core Ranger. As part of the Rangers’ best line for most of the season Pouliot has to be retained. His goal against the Flyers was a great example of why the Rangers need him. Pouliot drove to the net and was rewarded after a great pass from Zuccarello. It’s a simple concept but not enough Rangers get to the dangerous areas, Pouliot did and was rewarded. He should (and surely will be) rewarded with a new deal.

Anton Stralman

Stralman was immense in Game 7 against the Flyers. Games like that are why the Rangers should find a way to keep him, but those types of all action performances aren’t quite frequent enough to warrant the money Stralman will likely demand. When he’s on his game he can make a good first pass, he’s a good skater, he is willing to throw his body in front of pucks and is a pretty smart hockey player to boot. It’s a shame he can’t put all those aspects together consistently.

J.T. Miller’s development trending the right way?

Miller’s game is very rough around the edges, but the experience he has gained so far in the playoffs will be been invaluable. He may not be in the lineup every game and his appearances appear to be match-up based, but Miller is clearly learning. His effort levels are more consistent, he’s kept a busy stick in the two games he’s been in and his positioning is slowly improving. It’s still early but it’s a good sign that Miller is finding ways to contribute.

Powerplay Woes

The Rangers cannot get past the Pens without an improved powerplay. It’s a major concern right now. It’s regressed to the point where it’s now a liability. Minimal movement, only occasional chances generated and when the puck is cleared re-entry to the offensive zone has been far too much of a struggle. Without a reasonable powerplay you get the feeling Henrik Lundqvist will need to again be perfect for an entire series.

The King Reigns

Speaking of Henrik Lundqvist: If he ends his career without a Cup and media types label his career underwhelming because of playoff ‘failures’ it will be absolute nonsense – and lazy journalism. A guy who averages less than a 1.00 GAA in Game 7’s (3 conceded in his last 4 game 7’s) is clearly not the cause of failure. Henrik Lundqvist is a big game goalie. End of discussion.

Can the Rangers beat the Pens? Only if Rick Nash shows up to the party. No more passengers.

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42 Responses to “The Musings: Several Rangers standing out”

  1. Steven Cifuentes says:

    What I love about AV is the lease he gives players. I have seen a millon posts/tweets etc asking for this guy to be benched for one or two bad plays.

    I am sure AV/coach tells them the issue and moves on and lets them play their way out of it.

    He benched some guys at start of year to wake them up but game to game he will allow a guy to make a mistake as long as the effort is there.

    Pouliet may have taken 2 bad penalties but both were terrible calls (cross checked into goalie and Giroux dive) and AV kept going to him.

    Reward a goal to take a 2-0 lead.

    With Torts Pouliet is riding the pine.

  2. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Agreed that some players need to step up (not to mention the PP) to beat the Penguins. The only way this team accomplishes its goal is if it steadily improves throughout the playoffs. If you’re not improving, the other team is.

    Nash – the lightning rod – started out the Philly series playing good hockey, had a lull in the middle where he was invisible and finished with maybe his best game of the series. The Rangers need consistency from him going forward.

  3. Chris F says:

    A minor point, but Pouliot’s goal came off a great feed from Brassard, not Zuccarello (he set up Carcillo’s goal).

    Regarding going to the net, this has bene one of my larger concerns with this team. In the absence of Chris Kreider, very few players drive to the net, even less are willing to camp out their for screens and deflections. The modus operandi seems to be perimeter movement, board-cycles, and looking for open passes to the slot as players cut in, but there seems to be a lack of forceful driving to the net, whether with the puck, or looking for the deflection. Boyle, Nash, Pouliot all need to go to the net. Krieder too, if he comes back this series.

    Secondary concern is the PP, which was an absolute bust this series. They get a fresh start this series against Pittsburgh and they need to collectively forget about the 0-22 slump and just go out there and play simple. Set up the formation and move the puck around quickly, take the shot when available, and someone needs to be out front. They’ve had success early in the year, no reason they can’t get it back.

    Defensively, they were much improved in game 7, but they need McD and Girardi especially to be better at getting the puck out of the zone. Both have been guilty of far too many turnovers in this series.

    Luckily, if Staal-Girardi-McD are on, we have the personnel to shut down Crosby-Malkin-Neal. if that happens, our depth and goaltending beats theirs.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Don’t forget that we have to shut down Cindy and Malkin. The offense has got to step up for sure, but McD & Girardi have to play like the top pair on every shift. Stralman needs to be the Game 7 vs Philly Stralman and the 4th line can’t be the only line to win face-offs.

    Team game, team effort needed.

  5. Jerry says:

    Do we have any updates on Krieder? Might he make it back for this series? Or if we make it to the ECF? Thanks.

    • Scully says:

      Rumor is he’s been spotted taking the subway and says he’s out, but that’s just a rumor.

      If it was a broken hand it’s been a little over 4 weeks which, if it was surgery bad, I think is much too little time. I fractured my index finger and knuckle once on my dominant hand (left hand) and it was 6 weeks to normal and ignoring stiffness when working out and about 8 weeks with no surgery before it felt like it had never been broken, so, I’m a completely different person, but just food for thought.

      • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

        I can’t imagine what it was that couldn’t wait until the offseason in the hand. Or what would have gotten so bad that we’d have lost him for more time than we already have.
        My pinky knuckle is half way to my wrist from real fights. Not just from hitting CCM’s but skulls too. I never even went to the doctor or ER for it. My hand is fine. Hurts in the cold weather or when grabbing cold tools at work but other than that the way I shot the puck never changed. If anything I lifted the puck a little better on the backhand. Not that I could hit the 7 but I think it could have waited. He was playing with it until he missed that shot in the CBJ game and never returned. The puck came all the way around and the Jackets came out 3 on 2 with F 2&3 caught behind the play. We all thought AV benched him but must have noticed something in his shot. A grimmice maybe or a shot he should have put on goal.

        • Chris F says:

          It was likely a metacarpal or radial fracture. You’re not shooting the puck properly with either of those, or without excruciating pain. If it required surgery, it was obviously more than what you played through. With that said, CK apparently wanted to play, but the team shut him down and mandated surgery. I’m sure it was less that particular missed shot against CBJ, and more the assessment of team doctors who felt CK playing through the playoffs with it would cause longterm damage.

          • Chris F says:

            He was actually injured in that Columbus game. He tried to play through it after that for a few games before they shut him down.

  6. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    BSB: Follow-up the first round predictions with second round?

    Mine:
    Rangers in 6
    Bruins in 6
    Kings in 6
    Blackhawks in 5

    • Chris F says:

      I’m pretty much with you.

      ~Rangers in 6
      -Bruins in 7
      -Blackhawks in 5
      -Kings in 6

  7. SalMerc says:

    Extra Extra
    Canucks fire Tortarella and Mike Sullivan

    • Dave says:

      Not surprising, but getting fired after one year means he didn’t get a fair shake there.

      • Chris F says:

        Other than his Hartley meltdown and suspension he wasn’t the reason the Canucks fell apart. They are an aging, fading team that suffered from ridiculous amounts of injuries and their management felt inclined to trade away 2 #1 goalies in the same year!

        • SalMerc says:

          Either way, Torts gets paid for another year and his reputation takes another hit

          • Chris A says:

            I think he’s looking at a cool $6M over the next three years.

            Although, there is a good chance that Torts will have a difficult time securing a head coaching gig in the near future.

            • pavel_burrito says:

              I though he had a 5 year contract worth 10mil. Getting fired one year in, does that mean he gets the rest of the contract due to him? Or is that more akin to a buy out, where he collects 2/3rd ish?

              • Galen H says:

                Yes, 4 years, 2 million a year.
                Vancouver is now paying 16 million to Torts and the fired GM over the next 4 year.

  8. Chuck A says:

    - Like Jerry (anyone remember JGE?) anyone know what’s the story with CK?
    – Also, is there less pressure to play vs. Pittsburgh in the second round as opposed to playing Philly in the first?

  9. Mark P says:

    I second Jerry’s request for an update on Kreider! We need him.

    • jerseyranger says:

      Here’s the latest…teams dont give much info on injuries.

      I think we will see him in 2 or 3…maybe 1.

      http://news.rotowire.com/Chris-Kreider-googid262396-spnhl.htm

    • Chris A says:

      You won’t be hearing much about Kreider other than what is observable by the writers covering the team. In other words, the Rangers are certainly not going to give any out info regarding injuries.

      When he starts participating in practices with the rest of the team, they’ll write about it.

      When Kreider stops wearing a non contact jersey in practice you’ll hear about that too.

      After that you won’t hear anything until you all of a sudden see him in a game.

    • Dave says:

      Team is mum on that. Not much to update yet. I’d assume he’s not ready yet.

  10. Seahorse says:

    Is there any sentiment to bench Dorset who has done very little imo for carcillo who has shown to be a postseason performer and see if jt can play on that line with hags and Ritchie? Im just very underwhelmed with how dorsett has played vs how well moore and Boyle have

    • Dave says:

      You don’t break up that fourth line. They completely shut down Hartnell-Giroux-Voracek. They are a shutdown line. They aren’t meant to wow you.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Dorsett’s been good. And with Kreider out indefinitely, there’s room for Carcillo in the lineup also.

  11. Walt says:

    Now that we are going into the second round, how many “Boyle has to go” guys are still thinking along those line?????

    I believe Boyle has proven, to me at least, that he should be re-signed based on his PO play, which is what I’ve said all along!!

    All I ask is that Nash wake up, get hot, and pitch in with a bunch of goals against the ice birds.

    A word of causion, beware of Cindy, I hear he loaded his purse with rocks, so he may swing it, while crying about how he got hit, and or got called for a penality!!

  12. Snake says:

    RE: Benoit Pouliot – Up until around the turn of the new year it seemed like Pouliot took a stupid penalty every game. It *seems* like he’s playing that way again, although I think poor officiating was responsible for whatever they called his attempt to avoid taking one and nudging Giroux ended being. He’s a very good 3rd line forward and the depth he’s added to the team and his chemistry with Brassard and Zucc have made them and the team stronger.

    RE: Anton Stralman – I don’t know why people get down on him so much. Granted, he’s not a shutdown guy, but you’d have to have a dang deep D-corps for him to be considered a weak link. Every team I can think of needs an Anton Stralman and IMO the Rangers have the best one. LOL

    RE: The Media – “it will be absolute nonsense – and lazy journalism”. You mean like the opposite of posts on this site? Better info and analyses on BSB then anything you’ll get out of the NY hacks like Larry Brooks.

    RE: Nash – I’ve read some people trash him and others that have tried covering for him by accurately pointing out what he contributes even when he isn’t scoring goals. Nash’s job is to score goals. I get that. At the same time the Nash apologists are right…he does bring a lot to the team away from the puck. To me he’s always seemed streaky. I have no stats to back that up the same way I don’t have stats to back up that Pouliot takes a lot of stupid penalties. He’ll get going eventually. He has to. He’s my favorite player. LOL

  13. Snake says:

    I’m torn on Boyler, Walt. I agree with what you are saying. In his current role AND on a 4th line, he has value at a reasonable price. Having him as a 5th center is an added bonus. That said, it’s painful watching him on a breakaway or completely unable to hit a wide open net without two or three swipes at it.

    If they end up keeping him I’ll be happy as long at they aren’t forced to use him on the 2nd or 3rd line like last season. At the same time it’s often difficult to envision something better until you see it. I just can’t help but think there is a better Brian Boyle out there…perhaps a bigger version of Dom Moore.

    • Walt says:

      Snake

      Agree with you that Boyle, as much as he does contribute, can be frustrating as all heck.

      The man has hands of stone, yet that one year he scored some 20 or so goals. Yes that was a freak year, he will never do that again, but for his role on this team, he is very valuable. Come to think of it, who would you say has elevated his game the most for the play-offs? You have to have Boyle in that mix for sure!!!!

  14. cv19 says:

    Pouliot is not a smart player. I’ve been saying all year he’s gonna cost us in the playoffs. He tried to kill us in game three with his dumb o zone penalties and singlehandedly turned around game six with his o zone penalty. There’s more to come before these playoffs are over. Guaranteed! Vigneault’s shake of the head after the game six penalty was as animated as I’ve seen him all year. Said it all. He’s the one I would sit when Kreider comes back.
    And I don’t re-sign him.

    • AD says:

      Torts had a 5yr contract and, yes, gets completely paid.

      Hi reputation, within hockey circles, is still the same. Amongst fans and some media, I suppose it makes for great chest beating.

      It’s funny: 1st game of season Patrick Roy pushes the glass down which separates benches and all the rage from fans and media was 100% admiration…. “the guy is filled with passion”

      Torts has a similar meltdown and he is a jerk.

      Typical talking heads.

      • Chris A says:

        Those were not similar meltdowns.

        Also, I would bet what Roy did opening night was calculated to infuse some confidence in his young team. It seemed to work. Though the Avs success could have been nothing more than the otherworldly play of Varlamov for most of the season.

  15. todd says:

    Does anybody know what Kreider’s status is?

    If he comes back where does he play?

  16. Frank Cerbone says:

    Strange- Staal a minus 1 for the season and his partners were Stralman +9, Klein +4, Diaz +5.

    Even Del Zotto was a minus 9 until Hagelin, and Callahan came back-then left Rangers at -5.

    Power play is oh so easy to fix.

    Put Pouliot, Zuccs, Brassard back on 1st unit power play.

    The St Louis and Nash line HAS NOT SCORED A POWER PLAY GOAL IN in 26 STRAIGHT GAMES!!!!!!!!

    Don’t want to hear about how good St Louis & Nash and their combined $13 mil salaries are playing!

    • Dave says:

      Strange – you’re using +/- as a relevant stat when most GMs by this point have admitted it’s useless.

      • Frank Cerbone says:

        +/- is irrelevant like St Louis/Nash line hasn’t scored a goal on the power play in 26 straight games.

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  18. Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

    I talked to some of you guys (BSB staff as well) about how the top teams stay together for years. The Hawks,Pens,Bruins, Blues have all found a way to keep as much of their roster together as possible. Maybe a cancer is cut off or an agent prices a guy out of his home town like Horton. Pouliot is a guy that fits that mold. IMO with all his bouncing around he may have found a coaching staff that knew what buttons to push with him. He found a niche on this team. Brassard,Zuc, & Dom Moore must also be retained. Those are the contracts of value Suit talked about a couple months ago. As little turnover as possible is important.
    Strahlman may have played his best game as a NYR last night. Unless he plays that way for the rest of the playoffs. I can’t see Sather paying him more than 3mil per or 9-10 mil for 3 years. That’d be the line id draw in the sand.
    Miller looked much better in the defensive zone. I watch him when he’s the weak side winger with the puck along the wall in a board battle. Much better the last 2 he played in. Carcillo should have been in game 6.
    The PP is around 10% right now. I think last years team was around 9% or so. That has to change to beat the Pens who will certainly take advantage of their PP chances. Operating around 1 for 4 with the man advantage. I still think Moore is our best in the dots and could be a 4th forward on a PP. He will pay a price in front of the net.
    For those of you who put Hank down should be shot. There was at least one guy who called him ordinary. Nonsense. He doesn’t have to stand on his head like last year because we have the puck most of the game and don’t allow teams time & space to wind up. Clean exits out of the Dzone and more time in the other teams zone. He always gives us a chance to win. I’d like the guy who said that to man up and see how far he is in the minority on that theory. Most of the top goalies now credit a part of Hanks game they have copied. Much of what hank did is now the norm. Hanka Tusk of the Bruins said Hank was his role model. Is he the best now. I doubt he has Hanks stats on this same team. Not playing 1-4 in front of him. The Bruins are bricklayers in the slot in their zone. Hank on that Bruins team is another Vezina winner this year.
    LONG LIVE THE KING