It’s October, ignore all the pessimism and lazy narratives

The Rangers can succeed this season. AP Photo/Julio Cortez
The Rangers may have flaws but they can succeed this season, . AP Photo/Julio Cortez

I keep reading articles from experts and insiders (oh how I hate the term insiders) that the Rangers need to tear it down and rebuild. How their reality is mediocrity not contention and that this organisation has little to be optimistic about. Pardon me for being a tad biased but the tear it down narrative is lazy journalism. Apparently the tear it down method is the correct path to restocking an organisation. I disagree. I also think the Rangers are nowhere near needing this radical approach.

If Jimmy Vesey had joined a Canadian franchise we’d be hearing Canadian insiders project a Calder worthy campaign. If Pavel Buchnevich was anywhere but New York I think we’d be hearing a little more of the Tarasenko and Kuznetzov comparisons too. It’s fashionable to think pessimistically about the Rangers – I guess this is what comes from being a deep pocketed, occasionally recklessly run franchise.

A quick appraisal: Last time I checked JT Miller (23), Chris Kreider (25) and Mika Zibanejad (23) were all young, top six forwards coming off 20 goal seasons. All three are trending in the right direction. Let us not forget to mention the merits of Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan. All three should be 50+ point players this coming season – anything less would be a disappoint and a surprise.

Remove the somewhat aging, but hardly decrepit, Rick Nash from the above group of players for a moment and consider one simple question. Why does a team that features the aforementioned bunch of talented twenty something’s need to tear it down and start from scratch?

Is it because their legendary and still very much elite goalie is approaching 35? Age didn’t stop Hasek and Brodeur. Or is the mere presence of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal such an extreme negative that Jeff Gorton needs to wave the white flag and trade everyone worth trading a la March 2004?

We are on the eve of the Rangers season opener against the Islanders and change is certainly afoot. That much is true. The Rangers enter the 2016/17 season facing more change and uncertainty than in almost a decade. They haven’t had a more blatant flaw (hello blueline) in years. As has been written all summer, the Rangers are apparently ill equipped for the modern, current method of NHL success. Yet there are reasons for optimism, reasons to ignore the lazy narratives.

Gorton appears to have addressed many of the difficulties this team faced last season (team speed, the penalty kill, forward depth) even if it’s biggest weakness remains. This team has a core that is young, it has more depth up front than I care to remember and yes, their goalie is still quite good. He’s also got a few good years left. These are not the hallmarks of a team that requires tearing down.

The Detroit Red Wings may be struggling right now but they have proved year after year that a franchise can build on the fly and that you don’t need to tear it down to contend. The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues are cap era examples (as well as our own dear Rangers) of how a few careful moves can keep you amongst the league’s elite without significant draft help.

We’re about to enter a new season and no media outlet, blogger or insider has offered up enough reason for me to believe the Rangers cannot succeed, and while I can recognise this team has its warts, they certainly haven’t offered up enough justification to suggest the Rangers tear it all down.

So look forward to watching the kids; the Vesey’s, Buchnevich’s and Skjei’s. There are plenty of reasons for optimism and a core in place that offers Rangers fans legitimate hope for the future. Ignore the lazy narratives and pessimism from the media. At least for the time being allow yourself to be excited. It is October after all.


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40 thoughts on “It’s October, ignore all the pessimism and lazy narratives

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    The Sharks ‘Rebuild on the Fly’ seemed to work pretty well last season…even with a suspect third D pair.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Yeah, but their top four was one of the best in the league. Vlasic and Burns are both #1 defensemen, and Braun and Martin are also really good. We have exactly one guy as good as any of those four.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      That’s exactly what the Rangers started doing under Sather from 2007-08 on. He began to draft more and less with the big free agents. We still handed out a few big deals but slowly rebuilt on the fly and it was working. Just happened (IMO) to have the wrong coach for the long grind of 82 regular season games and then 25+ playoff games to win a cup. Torts conservative Dzone coverage was too taxing on the players.
      Had AV been the coach and the draft philosophy been based upon his strategy, I think we could have won in 2011/2012 and 13/14 had he been coach a couple years already. Girardi maybe doesn’t get the big deal he got (which is about when his decline began) and maybe there’s money for the guy needed to help beat LA who abused Girardi all series.

      • Oct 13, 2016 at 4:11 am

        If Ifs and Buts were candy and nuts, it’d be Christmas every day.

        AV got them there, they fell short and has been diminishing returns since.

        Call out players for not being pros? Moose closed the China Club down more than a few times. Why is Girardi wearing the C if he couldn’t fix it?

        What the heck is going on inside this team?

        • Oct 13, 2016 at 5:56 am

          My bad on Girardi wearing the C, but the point bears repeating: if the McDonagh couldn’t get this fixed, why is he wearing the C?

        • Oct 13, 2016 at 8:03 am

          My bad, shouldve written McD, but point remains.

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Excellent article Chris.

    Now baseball is a bit different than hockey but there are parallels. A week ago, the very stat-oriented website described the Chicago Cubs as one of the 30th best teams of all time and gave them a 26% chance to win the World Series. Think about that. Clearly the best team and yet only one shot in four to win it all.

    There’s a bit more skill in hockey, but not much. More often than not, the best team does not win the Cup. Maybe the only route for the Rangers to become the absolute best team is to tear it all down and start over (though frankly that probably won’t actually work). However, what management is actually trying to do is to assemble a team that is among the best and that may be the one that walks away with the prize. The Rangers have the ingredients now to have a better team than any recent LA Kings team — and that should be enough for us until the playoffs start.

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Staal played well the last 20 games, but pardon my French: That D is a tucking horrorshow.

    AV has 7-10 games to figure it out: because after that he’s gonna need a 3-4 game win streak before Western Canada hits. A loss to VAN would be enough to get the chop on an extension of a losing trend.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Spot on, the Defense is a disaster. They are a bunch of Prima Donna’s. The one guy that brings a presence , attitude ( Mcllrath ) is deemed not good enough. Yet the 4 D men ahead of him, can’t carry his hockey stick. But AV treats them like they are Bobby Orr or Ray Bourque. Rangers are weak , like their Coach.

      • Oct 13, 2016 at 9:55 am

        They aren’t “prima donnas”. They lack the ability to handle and pass the puck. Some are slow. It’s never about effort with guys like Staal and Girardi. Let’s not add false narratives where they don’t belong.

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    McIlraith is better than Girardi right now. He was better last season as well. Yes, he makes mistakes sometimes but maybe that’s because AV has stunted his growth by scratching him so often.

    A stubborn unwillingness to see any warts on the vets from AV is the biggest problem this team faces.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Or he sees the “warts on the vets,” but thinks the ‘warts’ he sees on an untested, limited ,rookie as worse—leaving him with no real options other than to hope the vets bounce back. Not a great situation.

      • Oct 12, 2016 at 7:08 pm

        I just don’t understand how a known liability is preferable to a variable you can coach up if you want to earn your salt.

        • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm

          Obviuosly, he doesnt believe coaching is enough. Face it, dmac is just not his cup of tea. Hes the coach—his rules.

      • Oct 13, 2016 at 3:48 am

        Great point Joe! I still can’t believe, on the eve of opening night, all we can talk about is a 10th overall six year project who in more senses of the word than not, turned out to be a bust for this organization. This is NOT the coach’s fault, the organization overshot on draft day. It’s unfortunate because we have some good young kids who are debuting tonight and the headline will remain to be “McIlrath” after every game. The site should have a place where Ranger fans can talk about the players who are gonna be on the ice at this point. Enough is enough with this kid already.

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Right now we are undefeated and all is well. I just hope there is a short leash on those that require it.

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Let’s start a count down of when Clarabelle gets fired, I say by December 1st. One can talk to a wall and get better results, than speaking with that bone head we call a coach. Today he called out the team, not because he failed to make adjustments, but for not acting professionally last season, what an ass !!!!!!!

    Dear Mr Gorton, please light a fire under this overrated clown of a coach, and demand he play his best players, because if he plays the pylon twins, well, we will miss the PO’s, and will draft early next year………………………

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Hank is too good to get a coach fired during the season. Unless he goes down, AV is here until our swift first-round exit.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Maybe you call him a coach, but I don’t. LOL

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      OK, I will say Putzarella gets the gate on Thursday Nov. 17.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Walt bet against me? I say he doesn’t get fired and they make the playoffs.

      • Oct 12, 2016 at 9:41 pm

        I’m with you Spozo. I say he stays and we make the playoffs too. Too much negativity around here and we didn’t even start the season.

      • Oct 13, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        I’m all in on this!!! Walt, my friend, you will be eating crow in April, just wonder if you will admit it.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      I think we all get by now Walt. You don’t have to keep up the stupid baby shit about AV. Boy we had one off year with the guy where we still had 101 points and we got rkoffs like you talking shut about him every blog. There’s plenty of teams that would’ve loved to have been in our position. Give it a rest man.

      • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        I get you’re pissed and don’t agree. No need for name calling.

      • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:07 pm

        I’m also removing the other comments you made under different user names. One user name please.

        • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:18 pm

          Sorry man but I’m done here. Way too much negativity. You write a nice blog and I enjoy reading it but can’t deal with some of the bashing the coach n players.

          • Oct 13, 2016 at 9:22 am

            Hey “I’m great”, Dave is 100% correct. You can disagree with someone without the disparaging remarks. I think Girardi should be given credit for his guts and what he’s given to this team. Walt is on another page but I respect his points of view. And Walt and I will disagree about this forever, however neither of us feel it’s necessary to call each other names. Walt is entitled to his view on AV. I had a long and protracted exchange with Eddie about AV. I happen to agree with Walt. I do NOT think AV is the right coach for this team with the present personnel. So “I’m great”, stick around, express your views but show some respect for those that don’t agree with you. We’re all passionate Ranger fans and we all want the team to succeed.

      • Oct 13, 2016 at 6:01 am

        He isn’t the only one who doesn’t like av. We got owned and abused in the playoffs.

        And if it wasn’t for one Swedish goaltender. We wouldn’t have even made the playoffs.

        With the skill level on this team I expect more as do most fans.

        Your picking on the wrong poster. I would add some colorful metaphors but that would sink me down to your level. And I always promised myself I wouldn’t act like a philly flyer.

        • Oct 13, 2016 at 9:24 am

          Atta Boy, Mikeyyy

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I am hoping Beukabooms presence and direction will encourage the rest of the defense to look to hit [ like McIlrath ] when the opportunity presents itself…..
    I really can envision McIlrath becoming a leader on this team similar to what Beukaboom was……….solid, physical …..and a team player……..
    AV just has no clue regarding the utilization of personnel……
    I would still like to see us acquire a reaves or a kane even at the expense of a stepan and a fast ………we are too soft at forward……..especially after losing our best hitting forward in Stallberg……

  • Oct 12, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    BSB crew

    I suggested this last year and it never materialized.

    how about before tomorrow’s game you post 20 questions about predictions for the season. For example “who leads the team in points”, and “Does AV last the year”. Then we can all answer, along with the BSB crew. Then you can re examine these questions after the season ends and you can post the original article with all of our comments and predictions.

    I’m sure we would all have a good laugh at how different everything ends up compared to how we foresee the season going before game 1.

    Anyone else interested?

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Sounds like fun to me.

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      I’ll write one up for the afternoon. Solid idea.

      • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:15 pm

        We all think we know everything. Maybe this will show us that’s it’s all a roll of dice!

      • Oct 12, 2016 at 11:12 pm

        What happened to the off-season makeover contest?

    • Oct 12, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Excellent idea. We can then enjoy a good laugh at ourselves at the end of the season. I’ll probably be guffawing st some of my pearls of wisdom. ?

  • Oct 13, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Chris I value your observations….always. It takes some parts to discuss and hold to a point of view.
    I’m having more difficulty rooting for this team now than ever before (a fan since 1970) because of the last 2 years of disatrous trades. I’m thinking that JG and AV thought 1st Yandle would put the club over and then E Staal would.
    It didn’t work. I won’t say DMac is the answer but if McD has got to skate with DG he would be no worse off than with DMac. Forget that he would know there was retribution coming if he, or golden HK, got run. That really is hockey and gives our players a chance to focus on the game and not concussions.
    AV doesn’t get it……and I think neither does a majority of all the NYR “young guns”
    All the young guns need a cleaning…..and some rearmaments. I can stand the
    losing and the “learning” But not the “AV process” Its a load of manure.

  • Oct 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Chris, Thank you for the straight shooting article! I am very excited about this group. Let’s Go Rangers!!!!!

    • Oct 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Tearing it all down is definitely going too far, but you really can’t gloss over one of the worst defense corps in the league. They need help back there and at least 2 solid pairings. If the defense can’t quickly exit the zone with the puck, the forwards don’t get the puck and the Rangers continue to get out possessed.
      We can’t just rely on shooting percentage; it always regresses.


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