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Rangers stay alive; post game thoughts

June 12, 2014, by
Winner. Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Winner. Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Stay of execution or the start of something special? The Rangers held on to get their first win of the Cup finals Wednesday night and give the fan base a glimmer of hope. Let’s have a little muse about how things went down.

Earlier this week we considered a few reasons to be cheerful despite the Rangers being 3 down in the series. One of those reasons was Chris Kreider who had a huge part to play in the game winning goal. Kreider’s mere presence causes problems, even against the best defenses in the league.

If Kreider can continue to go to the net, continue to play physically and get a little less reckless in his own zone, the sky’s the limit. Yes, Kreider needs to develop more facets to his game but he’s already scaring teams.

Martin St Louis. He leads the team in goals; he has three game winning tallies amongst his eight markers. If someone told me the Rangers would give up two first round picks and a captain that was pricing himself out of town for a trip to the Finals, I’d have definitely taken that deal. Well, that’s what we got. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and while St Louis hasn’t been brilliant every game he’s certainly justified Sather’s decision to bring him to New York.

Is it me or did Anton Stralman officially price himself out of staying in New York Wednesday night? Defensively it was his best game as a Ranger. In a weak free agent market Stralman has a legitimate chance to seriously cash in. It’s been nice knowing you Anton.

Henrik Lundqvist may indeed end on the losing side of this final series but, all things considered he has cemented his place as the best goaltender in the world during these playoffs. Wednesday night Lundqvist was majestic.

Change is unavoidable. While he was certainly better in last night’s effort, it’s fair to assume Brad Richards is definitely on his way out of New York this summer. He’s not got enough left in the tank to warrant one more year let alone half a decade. His desire, talent and the way he’s stepped up in a leadership role has been admirable but Richards is not a viable option for the Rangers. Sometimes business sense has to dictate.

Nine players on the Rangers have four or more goals. Depth gets you to the Final, but when only two players have six or more goals the aforementioned depth is not enough.

Has anyone else really liked Derek Dorsett? If he can get a little more consistent, and get back to chipping in a few points here and there, Dorsett will be a Ranger for quite a while. The Rangers need more, not less abrasiveness and he’s a great depth player.

Obviously it’s one game at a time from here on in. If they win game five, the Garden will be jumping for game six, won’t it? All of a sudden the pressure goes back to the Kings who have seen first hand what momentum can do to a 3 game lead in a seven game series.

Question Time:

• Who has been the biggest disappointment for the Rangers this series?
Brian Boyle or Anton Stralman; which one do you keep and why?
• Who has the better upside as a Ranger Derek Stepan or Derick Brassard?
• How many games will the Stanley Cup final last?

"Rangers stay alive; post game thoughts", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.


  1. Brendan says:

    I’m not a huge fan of the off season talk before the season is over, but I agree with you on all points… and yes as far as Dorsett goes, he is MUCH more likable when drawing penalties instead of taking useless ones. He’s a good skater and uses his speed and momentum on the forcheck very well, in the regular season he would be bound to score one soon, but against Quick, it’s a different story.

  2. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    – Dan Girardi has been the biggest disappointment (with Brad Richards a close second). As a shutdown defenseman, he hasn’t lived up to the billing. He’s been on the ice for an inordinate amount of goals, and has had way too many turnovers (again, right there with Richards).

    – I’d rather keep Stralman, but I think Boyle is more likely due to the salary demands. Stralman will most certainly get more on the open market than the Rangers will be able to pay (the Rangers need to resign a ton of FAs).

    – I want to say Stepan based on his all around play, but I think at this point Brassard has proven to have more offensive upside. He’s just a more gifted offensive player right now. It’s close due to Stepan’s ability to play the PK and his work in his own zone.

    – I have a hard time seeing a win in game 5 for the Rangers. I think they were lucky to get out alive in game 4, and unless they play a completely different game, the result won’t be the same.

    • Chris A says:

      I was going to post my answers but noticed that RFIB said pretty much everything I was thinking.

      I’ll elaborate on point three. Stepan is bigger and sturdier while Brassard is a far better stickhandler and shooter. Both are excellent passers/playmakers. As far as in their own zone I’ll give Stepan an slight edge although Brassard seems to be a bit faster then Stepan.

      Thankfully, the chronic shoulder issues that almost derailed Brassard’s career while in Columbus haven’t resurfaced. I think Stepan and Brass can be a good pair of 1A-1B type centers for the Rangers. If it were up to me, I would dump Richards this summer and bring in an older Center on a short term deal to compete with Lindberg and JT Miller for the vacant center slot. If either kid grabs the job the vet becomes a healthy scratch/trade fodder.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        The more and more I think about it, the more I am on your side regarding bringing in a center on a shorter term deal. As much as I would love to have Paul Stastny here, I’m just not sure that’s money well spent.

        It would be nice to have that bona fide #1, I’m just not sure Stastny will be worth the price.

        The problem is there really isn’t much out there for UFA centers.

        Mikhail Grabovski (personal choice)
        Derek Roy (second choice)
        David Legwand
        Marcel Goc
        Steve Ott

        Slim pickins.

        • Chris A says:

          Grabovski would be great but won’t be cheap. Legwand might not be a bad option if he comes cheap or without a long term commitment.

          I think we just have to accept the idea that Brassard and Stepan are as good as it’s going to get as far as Rangers centers barring a blockbuster deal for someone like O’Reilly.

          Stasny would be nice but might require a lot of roster shuffling. It means accommodating another huge cap hit, and likely trading Stepan or Brass and/or some of the kids that will become blocked.

          • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

            Grabovski is coming off a one year deal after a buyout where he only played in 58 games (35 points). I’m not sure how he can command a ton. I guess you never know with a weak market.

            • Chris A says:

              That’s not an awful season production-wise for Grabovski. When you consider he played for one of the leagues more dysfunctional teams it makes his year look even better. His fancy stats were pretty strong too.

              Also, I think everyone looked at Toronto and said WTF (like most Toronto moves) when Grabo got bought out.

          • Chris F says:

            Stastny is going to be looking for $6.5+, which won’t be a killer considering Richards $6.7 will be coming off the books.

            Stastny is going to give you at least 60-65 points a year, which is what Richards was supposed to provide. If the Rangers paid that money for 33 year old Richards at the time, I think it’s justifiable to give that to a 28 year old Stastny.

            Additionally, Stastny put up 10 points in Colorado’s first round exit this year, so we can expect some playoff production from him as well which will be essential for a team that seems to lack consistent playoff performers.

            He’s a big body, who can make plays and score goals. I’m all for signing him.

            His addition won’t rock the boat all that much.

            Just put him on the Kreider – Nash line and move Stepan to between Hags and MSL.

            Or, slide Hags up with Stepan and Nash and put Stastny between Kreider and MSL. In my opinion, this makes the Rangers a more dangerous team than they are with Richards.

            For the same money, I think that’s a reasonable proposal.

            The only downside is it seriously limits the ability of Lindberg to break the lineup with Stepan, Stastny, Brassard and Moore/Boyle on the roster.

            • SalMerc says:

              I like it.

            • Chris A says:

              I like Stastny, don’t get me wrong, but he’s a tight fit on the cap even when you consider BR’s buyout and letting Stralman go. I’d post the capgeek lineup I made but the publish button on their site doesn’t seem to be working right now.

              • Chris F says:

                I could be wrong, but I thought the Rangers had enough to make the signings they need of pending FAs on the roster, with Richards still on the books.

                If so, I think Stastny could be had with a Richards buyout. I’m basing this on earlier BSB posts, but I haven’t crunched the numbers.

  3. BrooklynVic says:

    Nice write up.

    Biggest Dissappointment – *Besides Richards – Nash, although last night he was a force and beastly with his body. Still so, we can get a tough guy for much less then he’s making. Although I am content with his performance of late we need him scoring because right now he looks like trade bait.

    Boyle v Stralman – This will become the toughest dilemma the rangers face. I think you keep Boyle because he is great defensively and on the PK and will not cost as much. That being said, if Stralman is given PP time and actually shows he can QB it or be that defensive shot from the point is his pay day worth it? Still Keep Boyle get pieces for Stralman but damn I will miss him.

    Stepan v Brassard – I think Brassard. They are very similar to me however I see Step a bit less consistent then Brass. I just can’t get over the breakout Step had in order to hold out to be a bit underwhelming the year after.

    I had this dream and this gut wrenching feeling we can ride this through 7… from there its up in the air. We’ve got to be great in LA tomorrow and get the W… Hank won’t lose Game 6 at home, I think its impossible… Game 7 – Anything goes so I hope we become the story of the year!

  4. mikeyyy says:

    Stralman. He’s not that bad and dmen log more minutes. Boyle is easily replaced.
    Brassard. More moxie
    At least one more.

  5. Ray V says:

    1 – for this year Nash (I dont even want to include Richards since he has been a waste for a few years)
    2 – Keep BOTH. Boyle has been great in that 4th line role. We need to keep that 4th line together.
    3 – Brassard. Stepan seems lost or something this year. Dont know if he is playing hurt, or he lost his confidence. He was making Zucc type plays/moves/passes at one time = (
    4 – I think one more. I hope not.

    On a different note. Richards dropped to 4th line yesterday. Lets just bench him. Moving him to the fourth line kills some of that chemistry that line has. He is not fast enough or aggressive enough to play with them.

    Both Eddie Olcysk and Pierre McGuire saying he should be taken off the power play during the game yesterday. Olcysk “take Richards out and insert Stralman”.

    RICHARDS MUST GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Torts knew how useless he had become and benched him.

  6. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Girardi. Neither. Brassard. Game7.G.has been terrible.Both Stralman,Boyle will command more than they’re worth.Move on. Brassard better all around player.Game7 please,Tanaka only picthes every 5th day.Stay alive.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Love the Tanaka line. I’m with you, Yankees stink, Rangers all I have right now.

  7. floridasurfer says:

    I think the biggest disappointment is Richards, although he was a bit more engaged last night. I give Girardi a pass because the Kings forwards are a handful, and he is worn down from a long year of being a top pair d-man. I think the first two series took a lot out of him.

    Neither as they are going to get more on the open market than we can afford. Too many more important pieces to sign like Zuc. I do see them keeping Dominic Moore with a home town discount though, which will compensate for losing Boyle.

    Stepan due to his two way play, versatility, and hockey sense. I think Stepan can easily adapt to different players and styles, whereas Brass might have benefited from a great year by Zuc and Pouliot. Stepans play where he did not panic and cover the puck, rather swiping the puck off the goal line and under the King was calmness under pressure.

    The refs are calling a fair game, although they are letting a lot go. This favors the kings and I am not sure if the Rangers can overcome this. Hard to imagine the Kings losing 4 straight, but stranger things have happened. As a lifelong jaded Ranger fan, the pit in my stomach says it ends in 5

  8. WayneG says:

    Biggest disappointment- Richards because he just seem to be unable to do it anymore. Gi has been really unlucky- almost to the point of wondering if it is just bad luck.
    Boyle or Stralman- Very tough choice- Like BrooklynVic says, that kind of defenseman doesn’t grow on trees- how much would it take to keep him here vs keeping our arguably best defensive forward? With Girardi’s salary unmovable I think Boyle gets the nod.
    Brassard vs Stepan- another hard one- Step is first line and gets that treatment/coverage from most teams- Brass 3rd line but really 1A lower defensive playing against him but such chemistry with Poo and Zucc- leaning toward Brass.
    7- one shift, one period, one game at a time. LGR!

  9. Kevin Baumer says:

    – Girardi in a landslide. Looks like a traffic cone right now and having no luck doesn’t help.
    – Would love to keep both, but I think both will get better offers than the Rangers can match as UFAs.
    – Stepan will always be the better all-around player, but Brassard’s offensive ceiling is significantly higher in my opinion.
    – I refuse to answer this.

  10. pavel_burrito says:

    1) Scott Arneal. He runs the power play, and that’s the biggest disappointment.
    2) Keep Boyler, he may not be the heart of the team, but he’s definitely some aspect of our pulmonary system. Stralman has played his best, but for some reason he does not register in my mind as a Ranger. And this will give Mac, Diez or Allen a chance to move up.
    3)Brass may have purer talent, but I doubt it he will ever use it fully. Steps and Brass are both important, and should both stay.
    • Three more games

  11. Walt says:

    1-Could be any of the following:
    Nash, no scoreing at all.
    Girardi, the man is tired, and becoming a defensive liability.
    Richards, he has no gas in the tank. He has it in his heart, but can’t keep up with the kids anymore, and the game is passing him by!

    2-Boyle is the better option, the guy plays so hard in the PO, and we have replacement d-men in the system. Strahlman will be missed though.

    3-Brass, he is playing with a certain drive, and desire. It looks like he is having fun, where as Step just isn’t himself this year. Maybe it’s because Nash is looking so poorly offensivly.

    4-Let’s win one game at a time. Bring it back to MSG!!!!!

  12. bayman says:

    1) Richards. Good for a brutal giveaway almost every game.
    2) Boyle, because, as you say, Stralman has probably priced himself out of town with his game last nite…if he hadn’t already.
    3) Brassard.
    4) Sadly, it probably ends Friday, though I’ll always hold out hope.

  13. Leatherneckinlv says:

    1) Richards…he has been there
    2) Boyle…Stralman can be replaced by McIlrath
    3) Brassard, however Stepan would be a perfect 2nd line center
    4) 7 Rangers winning in 7…No quit in a Marine so I give you the Marine attitude…Gung Ho

  14. Seahorse says:

    keep boyle, his size and pk skills are important. hes also the best faceoff guy. stralman is solid but imo klein can be his equal which allows faulk to slide in at the third RD. fourth lines are important

    • Chris F says:

      I’m not sure Falk is a guy we want day in, day out. He’s a nice physical stop gap, but not a full time starter, in my opinion.

      If not giving that role to Diaz, then I’d give both Allen and McIlrath solids looks this off-season.

  15. Chris F says:

    Does anyone know where tomorrow’s outdoor viewing party will be in the city?

    Game 1 was in Bryant Park which seemed pretty epic. And game 2 was at Penn Plaza across from the Garden.

    I couldn’t make either but I’d really like to go tomorrow. I haven’t seen anything announced yet though.

  16. joe719 says:

    What is this I’m reading about Spezza. Have to admit, I haven’t really followed his career; so I don’t know if he has anything left or if he has chronic health problems. I read yesterday he might be looking to get out of Ottawa, and I remember some talk last winter of him being linked to the Rangers. Can’t say yes or no ’cause like I said, I haven’t really followed him that closely. Anybody have any opinions on him?

    • Chris F says:

      Well, for the pluses, he’s a center, right handed, good size and is still quite productive (84 points in 2012 and 66 points this season).

      The downside, he’s 30, slightly past his prime, and has an extensive history of injuries. Additionally, he’s not a free agent, so I’m not sure who the Rangers would be able to give up for him.

      He has one more year at $7 million per. For an expensive one year rental, I don’t think I’d want to give up what Ottawa would likely ask for in return.

      • Walt says:

        Agree on all points. What you failed to mention is he never had a history of coming up big when the team needed him most, the play offs. He also is somewaht soft, and the asking price is a player now, a prospect, and maybe a pick. Way too much for my liking!!

        That’s what they said on TSN, so you kinda have to go with their reporting.

        • Chris F says:

          Sounds about right. I’d definitely steer clear of Spezza. Great hockey player, but just not worth what the market suggests he is.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      He’s battled injuries the last 2 years but was always a good possession player. Great size and he is a righty but he’s hitting 30 and has a $7 mil per contract with $4 mil owed to him next year. The last on his contract. I don’t think he’s a good fit. Look for young talent. ROR of the AVS is an RFA. his Qualfying offer is about $6 mil which is high but he’d jump here if we sent a trade offed to the Avs. Or an offer sheet his way. Give him what they paid Richards. ROR is only 23 and scored 64 points and 28 goals. 201 SOG and a SH% 13.90%. 9 PP GOALS is huge. He’s lefty I believe but the Rangers need a Center that can win a Faceoff on the top 6.

      • Walt says:

        He also is one of the few guys who seems never be in the penalty box. I mentioned ROR the other day, wow he would be a great fit!!

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Colorado isn’t trading ROR. Assuming Stastny leaves, they have no reason to move him. Pipe dream.

  17. Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

    -Before I answer muses I want to say a few bullet points on the post. Kreider only has to learn to be the same every shift and I don’t think that’s a big problem for him the way he steps up in the playoffs.
    -Strahlman should be up on the top pair with McDonagh. He’s facing the same QoC as Girardi and has a Corsi for% 6.9% higher than G. Staal played with G for a long time and I think the move would pay instant dividends for AV & the NYR.
    -I don’t think one play would put a price on a player at all. He has had a remarkable run in the playoffs with a Corsi for of 50.5% a QoC of 29.3% compaired to QoT at 27.3%. G has a QoT 2.1% higher. I’d consider shopping Staal and pay Strahlman. Staal will likely want Girardi’s contract or more. Can we afford 3 top 2 defenseman. I think it’s a luxury and Strahlman may do the same job for $2 mil less per season.
    -The Rangers need Faceoff help on the top 6. For this reason I think Richards is bought out. They need his spot for a solid Top Possession Centerman and ROR comes to mind. I think Staal and a package gets him here. Staal was a 1st round pick and a top pair defenseman on 25+ teams in the NHL. The Avs allowed too many shots per game and were knocked out of the playoffs because of it. With all the young talent there especially at Center where ROR is a winger. The Avs are gonna be very good for a long time but they need a Marc Staal and A draft pick for ROR.
    -Just a thought but the Sabres are in fire sale mode. Stewart doesn’t wanna be there and he could fit in all 4 lines. $4 mil per adds scoring, size, Grit, physicality, and he’s the kind of player that will throw a big hit or fight to help change momentum in his teams favor. Or get the crowd back into the game. I think he comes cheap. If you let Boyle walk because he wants to get paid. Pay D Moore and insert Stewart.
    -I love the way Dorsett has played. He’s able to police the ice but isn’t tagged as a goon. He can skate like the wind and is a good hockey player.

    -Hate to say but Points wise, Nash.
    -I’m a big Boyle fan but with all the unknowns on D in FA this summer and Staal. I think they should attempt to convince Strahlman to take a 3yr $10 mil or comparable deal. We all laughed when he turned down $3mil for 3 before break. Now he’s a genius. Boyle can be replaced with a more physical 4th line guy. He’s already getting a bit much for his spot in the lineup. ($1.7mil).
    -Brassard is the more skilled player but Stepan can be a the better 3 zone player. Brass tops out as a 2nd line Pivot. If you’d even like him that high in the lineup.
    -I think this goes the full seven. The winner will come down to will and gas in the tank. The Kings dominated but the Rangers won the board battles against a bigger LA team.
    In this series the Rangers PDO in all situations has taken a nosedive. They’re due for some lucky bounces as the stats always revert to the avg. Which in PDO% is about 3% points low right now. Though the NYR still have a PDO of 104 in close situations. 1st & 2nd per (+\- 1g) and including score tied in 3rd period. That’s huge. I think the puck goes in 4-5 times for the NYR in game 5 and they allow 1 or 2 goals to the Kings in the 3rd period. 4-2 with an empty netter by Nash at end. 5-2 NYR win and go home 3-2.

  18. mikeyyy says:

    The bench Richards schtuff is starting to bug me.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong that he didn’t score some key points that brought us here.

    If he is hurt sit him. Period.

    If not, he plays . Benching your acting captain is tortaclassless.

    If we win the next game. We are taking them to 7.

    • Chris F says:

      I agree. We’re tied to him til a buyout. I’m not against cutting his minutes a bit and giving a larger responsibility to Moore at 5-on-5 and Nash on PP, but I’d still keep Richards in the lineup with his usual wingers.