Aug
05

Some Late Summer Thoughts

August 5, 2016, by
www.frozenfaceoff.net

www.frozenfaceoff.net

Happy Friday, BSB community! Can you believe it is August already? It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve had the time to write, as the summer is the busiest time of year for me at the office. I suppose I haven’t missed much, though, as most of the Rangers’ business was taken care of in early July. We are now only a few weeks away from the return of the World Cup and training camp/pre-season is just around the corner.

There are still a few features I plan to write before the season (Top 30 Goalies!), but for this morning, I wanted to share some thoughts now that I have had some time to digest the summer moves.

1. I agree with most here that Jeff Gorton has had a very good summer, overall. I feel like it comes down to the old “Rome wasn’t built in a day” adage of roster construction. The new GM had several areas of the roster to address, and several holes to fill. I’m going to get to some thoughts on the individual moves in a bit, but overall, I suppose I would conclude that his moves were “savvy”, rather than big, dramatic, overhauling moves. I think it sends a fairly clear message that the FO is still very confident in that the core group can make another run. We will soon see if that confidence is misplaced.

2. That does not mean that Gorton did not leave himself a back door. With over $3 million in cap space after sacrificing some longer-term cap savings via bridge deals, the Rangers have some flexibility if they need the roster re-worked at the deadline. Another addition isn’t impossible at this stage, but unlikely. It’s been a while since we’ve seen any cap flexibility. Hopefully, it won’t be burning a hole in his pocket.

3. I do have to wonder if part of the extra cap space is designed to carry a couple extra reserves for flexibility purposes. A lot of bottom six options were brought in this year, and I wonder if AV will want to mix and match. I’m personally not a big advocate of this type of strategy, but there are probably eight plus forwards for 6 bottom six spots going into camp. There will likely be some attrition, but hopefully the dust settles with some extra depth.

4. When Gorton first traded for Nick Holden, I, like many, thought it was a precursor to another move. That may have very well been the intention.   However, with nothing else materializing, it does provide some capable, low-pairing insurance if Brady Skjei or Dylan McIlrath struggle with consistency, or an injury to another blue liner.

5. I think the fact that the Rangers have the cap space that they do and the fact that they haven’t been temped by the likes of Jiri Hudler or Radim Vrbata shows the confidence the organization has in Pavel Buchnevich to make an impact this season. I don’t know if top 6 impact is a reasonable expectation for someone in Buchnevich’s situation, but hopefully they will have the patience to let him acclimate to the North American game.

6. I think the Antti Raanta contract was an underrated piece of business for Gorton, as well. It gives the team a goaltender they can rely on for 25 games to give Hank a breather once in a while, but also allows for a window of development for some of the top prospects to develop. I love Igor Shestyorkin’s ceiling and skill-set, but he is unorthodox and could run into trouble at the higher levels. Brandon Halverson has all the tools to succeed, but needs to be more consistent with his mechanics. Don’t forget Mackenzie Skapski, either. I think this two-year window is the perfect time frame to see what you have in these guys and determine if one is ready to contribute to the big team and be mentored by Hank.

7. I remember how shocked I was when I heard the Brassard trade go down. I think it was a nice little piece of business. It was probably a small short-term downgrade in overall play, but it brought a little more goal scoring prowess and hopefully a shoot first attitude. Zibanejad has tremendous upside, even though he will get a little expensive pretty quickly, but basically buying a second round pick because Ottawa is cheap is exactly the type of move the Rangers should be making. I think the surprise came in the form of trading a fan favorite player, especially when center ice was not a huge area of concern.

8. I believe the big key to this season is going to be deployment. Obviously, I am not of the belief that Girardi and Staal can have big, bounce back seasons with their age and skillsets, but I think AV needs to put them in a position to succeed. Sheltered deployment, changing their defensive system and allowing them to play with defensively responsible forwards who can help with the transition game will be key.

9. It’s a little sad, but I feel like I will end up rooting for Team North America at The World Cup (gross jerseys notwithstanding). Team USA has been built on old-school thinking and I believe they are going to get destroyed. Being half Canadian myself, I have seen enough Canadian hardware in international tournaments for my lifetime, so I think it will be interesting to watch the kids try and make it tough on the vets.

I think that’s about it for me. I’m curious to know if anyone cares about the World Cup: is it just a meaningless gimmick, a worthwhile re-launch or just early hockey? Have a great weekend everyone. See you next time.

"Some Late Summer Thoughts", 4 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.

47 comments

  1. Walt says:

    Nice write up Justin, and I suspect your right that we shouldn’t hold our breath in believing a major bounce back season is in store for the twins. Some of the moves were smart business moves, agree, and I really loved the fact that with the Brass move, we got that additional pick, as well as the before stated upgrade of younger, faster, bigger. We all loved Brass, always had a smile on his face, looked like he enjoyed himself out there, and elevated his game during the PO’s. If Brass reads this site, good luck kid, you served us well while here!!!!!!!!!!

    As to the World Cup, I for one don’t care at all. It’s a nice tune up for the players involved, going into the new season, but it means nothing to me……….

    Can’t wait for the season to start, to see if we are for real, or not????????????

  2. Hatrick Swayze says:

    1) Rome wasn’t built in a day adage is perfect for the position we’re in. I am breathing a nice sigh of relief after seeing the path we’re on. Going all in and blowing it all up are two extremes, I like the path we have carved out for ourselves between the two poles. Which leads nicely into the point about the
    7) Brassard trade. It was a very savvy move which keeps us competitive now and futher bolsters our young core. It is very much in the realm of possibilities this core can mature over the next few years and put us right back in contention, provided other areas of our roster are addressed. Fans get frustrated about a lot of things and take for granted that we aren’t fading into nothingness after going all in for the cup the past few years and having some extraordinary runs at it.

    9) As for the World Cup of Hockey, I couldn’t be more excited. And I’ll absolutely be pulling for JT Miller and Team North America. NHL playoffs and the Olympics are without question my favorite times of the year as a hockey fan. This may not get to that level, but it very well may. As a fan of the sport over any specific league or team, I don’t know how you couldn’t be excited for it. For instance, who will be paired up with Karlsson on Sweeden’s top pair- OEL or Hedman have to be the front runners. (That may be somewhat cut and dry as there is a good chance Hedman and Stralman are kept together, but I digress.) For me, very simply, it will be a nice distraction as summer fades back into the rest of the year when life is just a bit less joyous.

  3. mattstake says:

    the world cup makes me cringe.. all i can think about is injuries…as was the case with the olympics…pretty sure hank got hurt or another player as well… How does that work? Do they have to get team permission to play in these events? If not, if an injury occurs, who picks up their salary?

    • Spozo says:

      It’s no different than if a player gets hurt during an offseason workout.

      • Egelstein says:

        Yes, and no. Offseason workout is not usually quite to the intensity level and risk level of real competition (especially when it comes mainly to concussion risk of course) and offseason workouts still are mainly to benefit the player’s personal development and therefore the player’s earning capability and the team’s success. Call me unpatriotic, but I really don’t think I’d participate in international competitions as an already successful and well compensated pro athlete, any sport. If I needed it as a showcase to potentially make it to the NHL, slightly different consideration there. As an already established NHLer however, international competition is not how I secure financial security for my family and possibly even whole future generations to come in future contracts…but it is one way I have an increased chance of losing that ability. It’s a situational thing, but I really wouldn’t bother risking it unless I felt I needed to.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          He meant it’s no different than an off season injury as in his NHL team is still paying him. Not that it’s just as likely to get injured by participating.

          To me, hockey is probably the best sport (read: major team sport) for international competition besides soccer, and perhaps baseball- reason being, the number of countries with strong development programs. All the more reason for players to participate, regardless of an NHL contract. Many pro athletes look forward to these international tournaments because of the big stage and the non-routine nature of playing Sweeden or FInland… as opposed to another tilt against division rival Carolina Hurricanes, for instance.

          • Egelstein says:

            Sure, but there’s always that next contract to think about is what I’m getting at. And I’m an average Joe grinding it out 9-5 M-F, so hey – I probably have a different perspective on the freedoms financial security provide than most guys who are groomed from a young age to expect to make millions playing a sport, for sure.

            I’m sure these things are a ton of fun, getting to chop it up and play with players you never get the chance to, the social aspects of it, the glory of making your country proud, etc. I just personally wouldn’t risk it unless I was already extremely financially secure and feeling really healthy…and even then I think I’d still rather save those miles for the NHL; few as a tourney may be comparatively, they do still count. Just my take, obviously most players don’t feel the same!

  4. Bloomer says:

    Looking forward to you top 30 goalie article. But could you alter it to the top 50 so that Lundqvist gets included?I would hate to see him left out.

  5. paulronty says:

    I’m glad Gorton didn’t fulfill everyone’s expectations and blow everything up in a panic type move. I was all for strengthening the centre ice position, but I thought iot would be Stepan that was moved to Minny. There was some intriguing trade possibilities there, but I guess they didn’t materialize. I liked Brassard, however, I did think we had defensive issues at centre ice & he was one of the problem spots. I think he’ll do well in Ottawa, but Z has a lot of upside, so we’ll see if it’s real or illusion. In any case, we should be better defensively at Centre, Kevin Hayes(should be a winger) notwithstanding. I think Marc Staal will have a bounce back season aqnd is not finished as some think. Don’t know about Girardi, but he sure needed the time to let his body recover. I was not as down on the D as many, because I felt the problems were injury related but more a function of a poorly designed defensive strategy from our HOF coach. In fact, I’m not as worried about team composition, as I am about coaching strategy. AV needs to make changes, but will he recognize that? That is the most pressing issue for me. Our young guys all need to make improvements this year for the team to be successful, and they need to play read & react hockey instead of overthinking it. As for the World Cup, it will be big up here in Canada. There are already ads on TV with the theme being who owns hockey. They have Russians, Swedes & Yanks saying they do, followed by the Canadians saying hockey invented Canada. I expect it to be a great tournament.

    • Egelstein says:

      I concur about AV. This roster is a really solid roster even if the D isn’t exactly superstars top to bottom, and a lot of the D issues were IMO also due to just a boneheaded system for the roster, combined with a stubbornness to make meaningful adjustments to deployment and distribution of minutes and situational usage. I mean, good lord, how can you expect a fleet of mostly average or below average skating (and multiple on the older/high mileage/injured side of things) defensemen to successfully run an overload man and always be chasing? Not gonna work. I wanted AV gone the day after the season ended, I won’t lie. He might have a great offensive mind, and that is one thing. However, doing the same things over and over and the results are consistently poor and no meaningful adjustments are being made…that, to me, is unacceptable. (To note, it’s hard to say how much of it was on Ulfie but I always got the impression he was a “Yes Man” when it came to AV, otherwise there would have been visible friction and perhaps the D scheme/deployment would have been altered if he was really fighting for it.) It’s a lot easier to change the approach than to change the roster when something is so thoroughly broken as the defense was last year – that’s one concept I always stand by. It’s the square peg and round hole analogy to a tee with what AV did with his defensive approach last year.

      • Chris A says:

        It’s almost impossible to change defensive systems mid-season when the team doesn’t practice.

        The Rangers made a conscious decision to significantly dial back practice time last season in an effort to try and save the team’s legs. Let’s not forget that no team had played more hockey from 2011-2016 than the NY Rangers. Note that #2 and #3 on that GP list, Chicago and L.A., also managed to get bounced in the first round last year.

        To think the Rangers were just going to wake up one December morning and shift from the pressing/overload system they have played since AV got here back to a conservative, clog the crease D style, is nuts. It takes weeks of practice to install a new system. It’s more than simply adjusting zone coverage and slides, the team also has to work on a whole new set of breakouts to accommodate the revised positioning of all 5 skaters.

        In my opinion, the team simply bit the bullet last year and tried to make the best of a crap situation. It didn’t work. But blaming AV for it not working is like blaming your doctor for the flu you caught. Now, you could argue that AV should have changed the system last summer, but why change, the team was coming off a 2014 SCF and 2015 ECF appearance, what indication was there that the system wasn’t working?

        • paulronty says:

          If you can’t change things on the fly, then you are a dinosaur, moving monolithically ahead, blind to your own dinosaurian moves. Leaders take action, they don’t rest on their laurels and apologists readily make excuses for them.

          • Chris A says:

            Did you actually read my post, or are you just going to stick to your narrative? I just laid out why it was impossible to change systems mid-season.

            • Ray says:

              But it really wasn’t impossible. Yes, you can’t change systems if you don’t practice — but one of the changes that could have been made is to start practicing more.

              It was the very approach of not practicing that didn’t work. The goal of AV’s system was to make the playoffs and lose in the first round. Maybe that is right, maybe the Rangers were just too banged up and needed the rest. But let’s acknowledge that AV didn’t put in any real effort to right the ship when there were actual options.

              Incidentally, I won’t dismiss AV as a bad coach. Most of the better coaches just get some seasons wrong and hopefully AV will learn from last year.

              • Chris A says:

                We’ll never know though, right Ray? Maybe if they decide to up the practice schedule, the team starts showing up flat for every game and they end up not even making the playoffs? Or, maybe they drop enough points to finish 7th and draw a beatable Florida in the first round.

                I think your second paragraph explains it all. The Rangers were too banged up and played too much hockey. The previous five years of success caught up to this group this past season. I don’t think there was anything that could have been done to reverse that.

        • Egelstein says:

          Yes, midseason, I wouldn’t expect a whole scheme/system change unless it was just a desperate cellar dwelling team with a lost season already, bringing in a new coach. Deployment and usage adjustments however, I fully expect when something is clearly broken, and AV made mostly meaningless adjustments defensively when he even did make them. There is no doubt in my mind McIlrath was definitely a better defender than two or possibly three others late in the season and in the playoffs, and he was often watching from the stands, as one example. That’s where I was going with “a stubbornness to make meaningful adjustments to deployment and distribution of minutes and situational usage”, to clarify. I didn’t intend to advocate for an outright midseason scheme change.

          I’m gonna have to disagree with you on the lack of indication the system wasn’t a good fit though. As an analogy, imagine composing a relay team in track with clearly known entities, and you have one burner, one average runner, one a bit below average, and one really slow one. Would you give the most important legs of the relay, either starting or finishing, to the slowest runner, because he’s a swell dude and has been on the team for a long time? Would you, knowing how the other team deploys their runners, still match that guy up to run the same leg as the opposition’s burner? Race after race after race? Kinda what AV did with the D usage/deployment last year far too much for my liking.

          Going into last season AV had a defensive group at his disposal that was not an overall strong skating group, clear as daylight on paper. The fatigue you point out is important there as well; would you expect them to suddenly become faster and more agile after another grinding season? Simply put, for various reasons, that’s not a group you want chasing IMO; it isn’t today and it wasn’t last summer either. I do not think it is so unreasonable to expect a little bit better roster evaluation in such an area from the coach. And again, it’s hard to say how much of the blame falls on Ulfie. If this group comes out gangbusters in the same system this year under Beuk, I will be the first to say I was wrong about AV being the problem – and I’ll be glad to say it!

          • Chris A says:

            Fair points. At least you didn’t say AV wasn’t playing McIlrath because AV’s an evil person that would rather see McIlrath fail than the team succeed. I’m going to assume that AV made a judgement call that McIlrath is not the cure-all to the D that most of the posters around here assume he is. No offense guys, but I am going to trust AV’s evaluation of McIlrath over your evaluation. After all, AV is a paid professional and he has been watching McIlrath closely for parts of the last three years.

            It’s funny, just 18 months ago most Rangers fans considered McIlrath a complete bust and now he’s magically become an indispensable part of the future. In realty, the truth is McIlrath is currently a bottom pair D that can throw hands with the best of them and has figured out how to take the body without taking himself out of the play. I’m sure he could play second pair minutes in a pinch, but I wouldn’t want to count on him for that.

            • Walt says:

              I for one asked questions relative to DMac not playing only because both Boyle, and Girardi were playing so poorly, and both are poor skaters to begin with, and Dan had his injury, why sit the guy. That is my biggest beef with AV, he never addressed this issue, and he should have had his held to the fire. I also can’t understand why people defend him for it????????

            • Walt says:

              Not to be a horses ass but wasn’t it Yandle who stated he was sooooooo comfortable with Dylan skating with him?????? I guess a player skating side by side knows nothing, while AV, super hero knows it all…………Sorry, I am of the impression that AV is way over rated, and would be thrilled if he were sent off to the pastures !!!!!!

            • Egelstein says:

              I loved what the Yandle/McIlrath pair did personally also, but although I’m a numbers guy, I can admit that is something that’s all eye test and therefore in my opinion speculation. What is not speculation is a HERO chart, and I think Dylan’s might be more favorable than some would expect. I just basically feel like he’s the same type of defender Staal and Girardi were three years ago, and they clearly are not the same type of defenders they were three years ago and should not be deployed as though they are – that’s all. I would like to see a professional hockey coach make that same observation. Maybe it shouldn’t be an extreme reaction like benching someone outright for Wrath…but how about an intelligent rotation/minutes distribution based on opponent, at least?

              Dylan’s HERO, for reference: http://public.tableau.com/shared/TZX64XJKF?:display_count=yes

              • Walt says:

                well stated my friend………….the eye test told me that he was playing better than both, but he just didn’t get the real chance to prove he could play, in my opinion !!!!!!!

  6. Egelstein says:

    I have very limited interest in the World Cup, personally. I just find it to be a bit meaningless outside of praying no NYRs involved get injured. I don’t dislike it other than that risk, to be clear – but overall…meh. Appetizer for the NHL season is all.

    Brass for Z and a 2nd was an excellent business move. I don’t think there was a person in the organization who had an issue with Brass, and the fans overwhelmingly liked him (due in large part to his playoffs heroics of course, and that is something that might not easily be replaced). I do really like that Gorton was able to separate the personal/emotional side from the business side of things, however. It was the correct move. You gotta take that deal eight days a week if it’s on the table in the situation Gorton is in. Z’s ceiling is much higher than Brass’s ever was IMO, and his makeup is closer to a true disruptive and perhaps someday dominant C that we’ve seen on so many recent championship teams.

    If Girardi does not have a considerable bounce back season, I see the Brass trade as a glimmer of hope that despite the fact it will suck from a personal standpoint for the parties involved, Gorton will hopefully have the fortitude pull the trigger on the buyout. It’s real dangerous for a team if a GM has “his guys”, and there was a bit too much of that with Sather. I hope that Gorton is more logical when need be, and he’s shown some flashes of that this summer for sure.

  7. Arisrules says:

    Last year we were a bubble team with Hank playing the best hockey of his life, and ultimately were obliterated by the Penguins. This year we kept the same stubborn coach, downgraded the defense and special teams, and shuffled the deck on the bottom six. Yet somehow, we are a much better team.

    I don’t see it. If Hank plays slightly less effectively and/or our shooting percentage drops slightly, it will take a miracle to make the playoffs with this group.

    • 43 says:

      Can someone please explain to me what’s so bad about AV? And not just that he’s stubborn, he favors Tanner Glass, etc. These gripes are getting tiring.

      • Chris A says:

        The fact that every complaint can be refuted with facts tells me that it’s simply frustration from not winning a Cup over the last three years (understandable) or irrational hatred.

        • Arisrules says:

          I am struggling to find the facts that state that Hank didn’t have an amazing season and the Rangers didn’t have above average shooting percentages (both which probably won’t occur again this year).

          Our true colors showed when the Penguins wrecked us. We had not shot. That is who we are. A bubble team that will have a tough time getting past the first round. We should adjust our expectations accordingly.

          • Chris A says:

            That’s not what a bubble team is. The definition of a bubble team is one that is on the verge of not qualifying for the playoffs.

            Also, the Rangers scored on 10% of their shots last season and 9.6% the year before. Seems sustainable to me. I think the fact that the Rangers focus on quality shots rather than a high quantity of shots means their shooting % should be higher than most teams.

            And Hank didn’t have an amazing season, he had another great season, just like his previous 11 in the NHL. You don’t seem to be making the argument that Hank may fall off the cliff this year, so there is no reason to think that the Rangers shouldn’t be a PDO outlier again in 16-17.

            • Arisrules says:

              Hank did not have a great season. He was amazing. The quality of shots, shot distance, and general disaster in front of him should have resulted in a lottery pick (see what happened to Montreal after Price went down; that is the Rangers). The only reason it didn’t was Hank, yet again, bailing the team out. And yes thanks for making my point. Our PDO was ridiculously high yet again, and what exactly is there to support us doing that? We are a team at even strength that heavily relies on transition offense for goals and opportunities. Our defense is now even worse at the transition and possession game due to the removal of Yandle and even Boyle. Thus we will be spending more time in our zone and our forwards will have fewer prime opportunities to finish. Our PP will be worse without Yandle. We are ever more reliant on McD playing at every opportunity (can he handle 30+ minutes a game? I hope so). This is the definition of a bubble team, even with Hank, and that is pathetic.

              The reason I am so angry with this organization is that Hank is an order of magnitude better than any of his peers, and consistently covers up the mess that is our defense. Most goalies of his pedigree win at least one cup, if not multiple cups. The Rangers record with Hank has been abominable, considering his talent, and it is a shame that they wasted such a generational talent. For yet another off-season they misdiagnosed the problem with the team, and that is makes me beyond sad.

        • Bloomer says:

          I have watched AV for years here in Vancouver, prior to him moving on to New York. Like I said when he came to New York, he is a good coach but not a great coach.

          AV learned his hockey trade playing in the QMJL. A league not know for defensive hockey. Thus, he coaches the same run and gun brand of hockey that he is accustomed too, which often leaves his goaltender and defenders hung out to dry. Luongo can give you testament to that. As we saw last year, his brand of hockey has resulted in the erosion of a team defence that once was superior in the league. Yes, go ahead and scapegoat Girardi and Staal all you want, but the truth of the matter is all the Rangers defenders looks bad under the AV system.

          The Canucks had an lethal PP led by the Sedin twins. Combined with the exceptional play of Ryan Kesler they earned a berth to the Stanley Cup finals. They were however, no match to the Bruins under the coaching of Claude Julien . Boston closed down the Canucks one-dimension attack and exploited their wide open vulnerable defence to win the Coup La Stanley.

          We saw a replay of this when the Rangers met the Kings in the Stanley Cup finals. New Yorks run to the Cup was led by Henrik Lundqvist and some timely goals by committee.

          Daryl Sutter very much an old school coach, threw bodies and pucks at the net and found a way to break the back of the King. He shortened his bench at appropriate times and did something AV rarely does, he matched lines to give his team the advantage. Once again AV found himself a bridesmate.

          AV has some strengths as a coach but his major weakness is his inability to make adjustments. This years’ Rangers squad doesn’t appear to be as strong as the rosters that we have seen in the past. It will be interesting to see how AVs responds.

          • Walt says:

            he won’t !!!!!!!!!!!!!

            after two trips to the show, and he choked twice, what can you say???????????

            now comes the hater non-sense directed my way ………

            • Bloomer says:

              Yes Walt, it is very likely Av won’t bring the team back from its slide but Ranger fans are accustomed to disappointment and frustration. Just thank your lucky stars your not a Vancouver Canuck fan.

      • Arisrules says:

        There are three major problems with AV:

        The first is his deployment strategy with his players which was nonsensical. Second, it is his inability to adjust his tactics and stubbornly commit to his gameplan which has been thoroughly ripped to shreds by now. Third, it was a loyalty to his guys, even though they were not able to play at the level he wanted them to. Every coach will have a reliance on certain players, but AV’s cost the team points, and made us look foolish in the playoffs.

        • Walt says:

          Stated without irrational hatred, good job Ari !!!!!!!!!!!!

          Why, when questioned, people respond with the canned answer, your a hater?????????????? Non-sense, the man is human, he makes mistakes, why is pointing it out made to be hatred??????? What do I know anyway !!!!!!!!!!!

        • Chris A says:

          The Rangers lost to the eventual Cup champs. I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over that. And for what it’s worth, at 5v5 they played Pitt even. The PK was a disaster and Pitt took advantage of it. Good for them.

          As for deployment, I answered this in the last post. The Rangers were clearly managing ice time last season. If you look at total ice time, McD played well under his career average. Ice time was pretty evenly distributed among the top three D pairs and the top three forward lines. Just like limiting practice was an effort to conserve energy, so was limiting ice time in the regular season. Seeing that the Rangers made the playoffs with little struggle, I think that was a fine approach.

          As for AV’s stubbornness, I answered that earlier in this thread. He couldn’t change D systems during the season, it was impossible.

          • Walt says:

            the only game we won against the cup winner was when he played Dylan, but that means nothing at all does it?????????

            Girardi was a dead man on the ice, couldn’t skate, make any decent turns, favored one leg, but he was out there, why?????? I don’t fault Dan, I fault AV for that, not anyone else!!!!!!!!!!!

          • paulronty says:

            And you were the guy saying Pitt was way over rated with a crappy D & you’d love the Rangers to play them & kick their ass. Remember? You forgot that they had a real coach who had his team believing they could do it.

    • Chris A says:

      8 points ahead of 9th place is not a bubble team.

  8. rjcy says:

    I think the problem with AV, among other things, is that some of his decisions do not pass the eye test. Admittedly, the eye test is but one test, but if so many are “eyeing” it the same way…..as they say….a thousand flies are not often wrong. For example, let’s talk DMac calmly. Truth is, he brings an element that, other than the controversial TGlass, the NYR sorely lack. He is big, physical and capable at being big and physical. No, those are not sufficient alone, but he became a sufficient skater and surprisingly responsible positional young D with a booming shot from the point. What is not to like? Not suggesting he is Bobby Orr, but what is not to like and nurture? Why must it be boom or bust? Similarly, I see really great skill set and instinct in Skjei as a Leetch-like D, but clearly he isn’t there yet. So what do we do? Sit him? Both players should be played in the way that responsible coaches bring/integrate capable young evolving players along (See: Sullivan, M). Again, I ask of you folks and AV, what is the big mystery and why must these players be boom or bust? We need both skill sets as part of our D, now and in future. No mystery at all. Just sayin…..

    • Walt says:

      all good points, and he is a decent skater as well…….

      let the four d-men Staal, Girardi, Boyle, and DMac have a foot race, I’d bet a $1,000 big Mac wins it, but he sat and pulled pine splinters out of his tail end.

      I have but one question of management, didn’t you all see this, and why weren’t questions asked of AV???????????

      it’s a new season coming up, let’s see if AV learned anything from last season at all ????????

    • Egelstein says:

      Well put. I honestly suspect/think AV does two main harmful things with young players:

      1. I suspect he overreacts to young players in terms of attitude, and his response is to take away ice time. I couldn’t find much else to explain him putting Miller in the doghouse a couple times two years back. Paired with some scouting reports that in his early pro years Miller did have an attitude about him, this is the basis of my suspicion. I think benching a talented young player for in-house attitude issues is a big case of cutting off the nose to spite the face. You stunt his growth by taking ice time away for something like that, which in turn hurts the team on the ice, perhaps short term and definitely long term. Those things can be handled off the ice, and IMO always should be unless they are real serious in nature (like beating up a teammate or things of a similar extreme nature).

      2. I think he overreacts when young players make mistakes, and his response is to take away ice time. Hayes is a good example of this. Last year he he’d have a game with one or two brutal mistakes, and find himself on the bench. I vehemently disagree with that approach, especially for a player with the type of ceiling Hayes has. The real kicker with AV in this area though is long-tenured vets would make mistakes just as brutal – if not more of them and/or worse – and not see even a minute less ice time. I hate that double standard about AV with a passion. If he’s gonna have a quick trigger on that, I prefer it be consistent. To me it’s worse when a seasoned vet makes a bonehead error, not completely forgivable.

      Now, I’ve read pieces before that do a reasonable job of explaining how AV does not universally have problems with developing young players; Fast is an oft-cited example. “Why didn’t he have similar issues with Fast?” is the retort. Well, because Fast is a typical balanced approach and conservative-style Swedish player, for one. He doesn’t take many risks or ever try to get tricky, really. That’s also why his ceiling is very limited offensively, on the other hand. Very steady and a good, reliable player, but will never be much more IMO. The second factor is, by all accounts, Fast is super mellow. It sure seems like he is that way from everything us fans can see. This is probably not your average prospect, in other words – he doesn’t possess the two (common among young NHL prospects, to note) triggers that tend to get stuck in AVs craw with young players.

  9. Leetchie Nut says:

    While I agree with each of the individual analyses given on specific players, moves and positions, to say that Jeff Gorton has had an overall good summer seems…pardon my bluntness…absolutely riduculous. The team’s most glaring deficiency of D that turned Hank into a mere mortal has not been addressed with any sort of urgency, a center swap – while fiscally prudent – solves a “problem” that wasn’t even there and the idea that the FO is relying on BOTH Girardi and Staal – and Nash for that matter- to have bounce back seasons is as insane as me not going to work anymore since I will surely win the lottery. Yes I know they all have NMCs but…um…players with even tighter clauses get moved all the time. Case in point PK for Weber, and 2 years ago, even our own MSL, who forced Yzerman to deal him to ONE and only one team! And magically Stevie Y still made it happen. So to use their 3 bloated, restrictive contracts as excuses y they weren’t dealt yet is just that…excuses. It’s more like Gorton is asking for too much aka overvaluing the 3 of them, and therein lies a major problem with what the Sather protege has yet to accomplish. The fact is there is waaaay too much wait and see, we hope, we think BS going into next season to feel even remotely confident beyond a playoff berth….if that….