Rangers drop road game to Carolina

October 29, 2016, by
Please reconsider your defensive options, AV

Please reconsider your defensive options, AV

The Rangers showed us last night that nothing gold can stay, as their offense fell (slightly) anemic to the Carolina Hurricanes in their home opener. Fun fact: this was the first home opener that the ‘Canes have won since the 2008-09 season, but I digress. This was also the first time we spied the Rangers without their offense, lifting the wool from our collective eyes to see what happens to our defense when they actually need to defend.

As you’d imagine, it wasn’t very pretty.

The game was on in my house, however I think the best way to describe the recap of this game is through the eyes of others. The eyes of those on my pals in my apartment. The tweets of those around us.

Let’s start with a positive note: Mats Zuccarello was on another level tonight, one that we’ve grown accustomed to but for which we should be eternally grateful. Zuccarello was responsible for the two goals on our side tonight, playing with the nonstop energy and seemingly huge physical presence. When I think of “grittiness,” I don’t think of blocked shots — I think of all five feet and seven(ish) inches of Zucc.

The rest was bad. It isn’t easy to point blame at any one person, but if we are going to, I’m going with Alain Vigneault for his consistent misuse of his hockey players. Why, why, why, why whywhywhy is Adam Clendening in the press box? If you caught the podcast from Tuesday, you’d know our great displeasure at how Nick Holden, probable 7th defenseman on most teams, is being set up to fail by our fearless coach (I mean that. AV clearly fears nothing based on his behavior this season and last). Tonight was a pretty eye-opening example of poor defensive play, as evidenced so succinctly in this tweet:

But really, actually, I need a megaphone to shout this from the rooftops of every building I know — WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING, NICK?:

And with that, our good friend Kevin DeLury broke the internet by retweeting several gems by Rangers fans everywhere, as shown in this small sample size below. I highly recommend Twitter searching “Nick Holden” for all of them:


All of this, of course, is unfair to Nick Holden, as we discussed before. But it sure as hell is funny, and Rangers fans deserve funny right now.

The rest of the game was surprising pressure with no ability to finish, however being pinned in the Rangers zone far more than we have been spoiled with so far this season. Henrik Lundqvist missed goals he hasn’t in the past, which spawned the ever popular “trade Hank” flurry of chatter, and Dan Girardi and (you guessed it) Holden were pinned in their own end because they were put on the ice with 1:32 left in the 3rd while the Rangers were down 3-2.

What I’m trying to say here is this: if you missed it, you’re lucky. It was frustrating and at some points downright ugly. The Rangers look to bounce back from the rare loss this Sunday night against the Lightning at the Garden.

Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. Richter1994 says:

    Awful, awful, awful game. By far worst of the year.

    Zuc was the only one to show up.

    Staal and Klein were embarrassing, not prepared to play at all.

    The rest of the D was not good either.

    The game winning goal was beer league hockey at it’s best. No less than 3 Rangers screening the King. Either block the shot or get the hell out of the way.

    But Clendening continues to sit.

    Guess the King will get the next 15 games to make up for this loss.

    We’re not contending with this D corps. Canes used their speed against the Rangers and you see the results. The cat is out of the bag.

    • pas44 says:

      totally agree ….. “beer league” classic!

      who about Stall wincing and turning away form the second goal!

      I still think AV is playing the king to get ahead of the curve cuz he was given a deadline on his job already… has to be

      last night was the perfect game to get Raanta time…


      • Richter1994 says:

        agree on Raanta. Last night, last Sunday, … After playing in the World Cup and at 34 years of age, Lundqvist will be toast by March.

        Staal and KK were beyond amatuerish last night. Holden and G were no prizes either.

  2. Craig says:

    Kreiter energy and offense is definitely missed. Why the heck didn’t AV start Raanta? We might have won the game. Hank didn’t look sharp at all. Did anybody on the Rangers throw a body check all night? Thank God we don’t have that awful Mcllrath anymore to mess things up as usual.Do give the hurricanes some credit, they were psyched last night. I thought the Rangers would have played a better game, but you cant win them all, whoops, except Pittsburgh.

  3. Benny Blanco says:

    Nick Holden plays defense inside the net. Nick Holden plays defense INSIDE THE NET. Looking for Nick Holden? HE IS INSIDE THE NET.

    God this guy is terrible. Has he even managed to make 3 touches on the puck without an unforced error/turnover? And Girardi had his standard, once-nightly giveaway right up the middle of the zone. McDonagh also had numerous D-zone turnovers. Other than Skjei the whole defense was bad last night. But I know one thing–at least they’re not Dylan McIlrath. Thanks AV, you’re a conceptual artist among journeyman coaches….

    • Richter1994 says:

      right Benny, but Cledening sits.

      Here’s a statement for the sarcasm about guys like Clendening and Dylan: It’s not that they’re THAT GOOD, and it’s that the D men that are playing are THAT BAD.

    • paulronty says:

      I think Garp is going to waive Holden & send him down to Hartford so he can work on his skating & puck moving skills, & then they’ll call him back up.

  4. pas44 says:

    I also think Vesey is showing how good he can be, powerful, tenacious on his attack to get the puck…

    Zucc has been showing massive improvements the pass 2.5 games

    man, we need to do something about our defensive troops!

    Maybe its the Russians Fault… or Weiners too!!!!

  5. Mikeyyy says:

    Breakouts were too simple and cutoff by the canes all night.

    We though the glass ceiling was only for forwards , but we keep Holden out for something better.

    • Richter1994 says:

      “Breakouts were too simple and cutoff by the canes all night.”

      exactly right, and why I say the “cat is out of the bag” on how to play the Rangers.

      they have been simple all year so far because other teams allowed them to do it that way. we’ll see now how “sheltered” the D corps is now.

    • paulronty says:

      The same thing happened with Roger Neilson, prompting Mess to say “we’ve only got one breakout & everybody knows it.” Neilson gets fired, Keenan on, Stanley Cup. Thank you Mess, even if it was the nicest man in the world you trashed.

    • Swarty says:

      Be careful about throwing around the word glass….

  6. Spozo says:

    They very well could have won every game played so far before this one. They have been playing very good hockey. They were due for a “stinker” that they only lost by a goal. Move on and get ready for the next one.

    • wwpd says:

      I’d say they played the same “stinker” style of game in Phoenix, but won that one. Sure “move on” but not without some long sessions in the video room first I hope.

    • JoeS. says:

      Atta boy Spozo. These guys couldn’t wait for the Rangers to have a bad game. “What took so long? I been wanting to beat up on this team and it’s coach all year and they start out 5-2, and played well in the two they lost!” Sad and pathetic in my view. LGR!

    • paulronty says:

      Son of Garp.

  7. Leatherneck says:

    So the finger points to Holden to mask the awful play of Leaky? So Leaky gets a pass in the headlines? We lost because Leaky was out performed yet again by another goalie.
    I have my opinions why he is not what most have anointed him to be. In my book he is not even in the top 10. Klein was all over the shooter on the 2nd goal…agreed he got beat but not to the point of a clear breakaway….that goal was on leaky and yet KK gets bashed…who are youse fooling with the Staal and KK bashing? Get outta here

    • Spozo says:

      Take a look at that pic of the 3rd goal and with a straight face repeat what you said last night that the goalie should have had that one.

    • Benny Blanco says:

      Skinner split the defense & left Staal & Klein in the dust on the 2nd goal. How do you blame that on a goalie? Oh that’s right, you blame it on a goalie when you hate the goalie.

      Do you watch hockey on a 12-inch screen? Because that’s the only way you can possibly miss the awful positioning of Holden, the sloppiness of Klein & Staal, and the routine carelessness with which Girardi handles the puck in his own zone. If the Rangers are consistently hemmed in and can’t break out of the D-zone, how is that the goalie’s fault?

      • Leatherneck says:

        Let’s see prior game JT had 2 similar opportunities and their goalie made the save, a 4th stringer….yeah…on the 2nd goal
        3rd goal…why is he on his knees? No reason for that…that’s not good positioning or hockey IQ…spozo…please by all means defend your king….I will not

        • Spozo says:

          On that third goal you’re delusional.

        • Chris72 says:

          Hey Leatherhead, remember last year when Quick made a save on Getzlaf when Anaheim came down on a 2 on 1? Why can’t Henrik stop every 2 on 1 just like Quick did? Sound ridiculous? Now you know how we feel when we get through one of your posts.

    • Ray says:

      Leather, it doesn’t really matter if you are right or not. Lundqvist is the Ranger goalie and will remain so for the foreseeable future. OTOH, what to do with Holden is unresolved. So he is amore relevant topic.

      We can hope that AV is just giving Holden a long look and he will be sent down after the first 10-15 games. Like McIlrath, he likely won’t be claimed either.

    • richsomma says:

      Again , I agree with your point, every goalie we play seems to outplay the king. No one likes to hear the truth Leatherneck…….Real problem now is that the ‘Genius’ sather has just signed hank to a long term , not cap friendly contract. Just like Girardi and Stall before him…..
      Maybe we can give him away to a contender right before the deadline.
      He played so great the beginning of last year , but since then terrible.
      Yes, it doesn’t help playing behind this defense.

  8. pas44 says:

    I hope this team needed this type of lose to get it up tomorrow night, the bolts are going to bring it hard!


    • Swarty says:

      The Bolts are going to run the Rangers D ragged if they are not prepared. They are fast and explosive.

  9. paulronty says:

    It wasn’t just the D folks, last night we reverted to the old let’s go on offence & let the D take care of the D-zone by themselves. Jesper Fast(The Preferred) was a disaster on the first & third goals. Instead of following Skinner or checking him in the corner, he stops in front of the net where the D man(Staal) is. Free shot for Skinner. Then on the last second PP goal he’s watching the puck & has no idea Skinner is behind him, & then goes for a block, looking like he’s hoping the puck doesn’t hit him, while Holden does a yoga pose to engender mindfulness. The Rangers get Grabner for the PK & than saddle him with Fast, rendering him useless, since he can’t cover everyone. We could be, no should be 8-0, but lost two games because Garp puts Jesper out to kill. Garp reminds me of a graylag goose, you know pushing the egg towards the nest with the egg under it’s chin & even when the egg comes out, pushing as if it’s still there. But ask him & he’ll say IDK,I didn’t see the play. I think it was Maloney who said you have to do zone breakouts with all 5 players, you can’t break it up with two D, separated from three forwards because then you have zero puck support. My enduring image, reviving nightmares from last year, is Hayes “gliding” nonchanlantly back while Skinner shoots into the zone for goal one.

    • TJ TOASTEM says:

      Total idiot if you think Jesper Fast is any part of any problem. FAST IS A COMPLETE HOCKEY PLAYER.

      • Bloomer says:

        I think any one who view Fast as anything more then a spare part knows diddly squat about the game of hockey.

        • Richter1994 says:

          He’s a good 4th liner, that’s it. Coach tries to make him more than that and it just doesn’t work.

          • Swarty says:

            I agree – he is a pretty good fore-checker and can be a bit surprising on O but his overall D is beginning to show some weakness.

            A 4th liner and/or potentially part of a package for a Defense upgrade.

      • Richter1994 says:

        you’re making friends FAST here. Sorry couldn’t resist.

      • paulronty says:

        Good name for you because I do believe your cerebral cortex might have short circuited. Please check the vicinity for smoke. Thanks.

    • Bloomer says:

      When you watch Jesper play, he is all over the ice. As a result, he is often caught out of position and leaves his check wide open. On Skinners PP goal, Fast is standing beside Holden in front of Lundqvist. He need to be on top of the box taking away the shooting lane from Skinner. If he is not willing to close on Skinner and block shots, then the coaching staff needs to put a player on the PK that is.

      • paulronty says:

        Your first sentence captures Jesper Fast. Defensively he’s a tire fire, but he surprisingly makes some really good offensive plays.

    • wwpd says:

      Greylag goose, lol, would have had no idea if you hadn’t explained that one

  10. paulronty says:

    Oh & Becky is right, one does not have to be huge to display grit & physicality. That little Italiano Zucchie has coyones as big as 10 lb kettlebells.

  11. upstatetom says:

    everyone thinks it’s just the defence !!! who the heck is PLAYING this defence !! nobody hits anybody, they’re out of position and their pairings are different all the time. what does one expect ??

  12. Chris F says:

    It’s time. Call up The Undertaker!

  13. Jon says:

    The Rangers are gonna have games like this as long as the defense core looks like this, simple as that. Holden or not, they aren’t that good. The breakout was shut down by the Canes neutral zone trap. The Rangers need a puck mover on the back end playing big minutes to keep the opposing team honest.

    • Becky says:

      Which is why I’m so frustrated that Holden is in ahead of Clendening, who is capable of puck movement up from their zone

  14. Snake says:

    This isn’t a problem with talent. This is a problem with the system the Rangers play. I called it Pond Hockey last night and that is how I feel about it. The Rangers looked like a bunch of kids playing a pickup game on a pond when I was a kid. Everyone wants to score. One long pass to a guy standing halfway down the ice waiting to score on a goalie that doesn’t even have pads…except Cam Ward did have pads. The Bruins…their kid didn’t have pads.

    If this is what the NHL has become then I’m not down with it. It’s just a bunch fancy pants bs.

  15. Bloomer says:

    Lundqvist can do no wrong, yet he has a dismal .901 save percentage so far this year. Yes the Rangers need to tighten their defence, but Henk has to be better at stopping pucks.

    • Spozo says:

      I’ll agree with that. I won’t say he can do no wrong but certain people seem fit to say he does everything wrong. It the same thing with the AV topic. Some people will blame a hang nail on the guy. I’ll say Hank let’s in a bad goal, when he lets in a bad goal. A couple of games ago when he left the crease to play the puck, yea that was a bad decision that resulted in a goal. Last nights third goal? He was as screened by 4 players yet he’s supposed to make that save? Give me a break.

      I think the Post wrapped up this game perfectly. Should he have had the first two goals? No. Could he have had them? Yes. A save there would have been nice. But Klein not being caught out of position would have been great too.

      Let’s all remember that traditionally he starts off slowly. This crap comes up every year that he is done, yet by the end of the season his numbers match the back of his hockey card.

      Last year was the anomaly. He started out on fire.

      • Becky says:

        Thanks Spozo.

        Henrik starts slowly, and he should have looked better on those first two goals. But to act like having a horrendous defense has nothing to do with a goalies save pct is ignorant.

    • Swarty says:

      Yet he plays and Raanta sits and get stale.

      Raanta should have played Sunday – but we won so we move on. Hank gets a little more rest and then he plays again last night and is …well….unspectacular.

      It will be interesting to see who will in goal tomorrow. The Lightning are having a tough road trip (down 2-0 to the Devils after 1) but their speed and skill will eat the Rangers D up if they are not careful.

  16. roadrider says:

    Just got done watching the game (DVRed it last night because – World Series). Agree with the all the comments about how the Rangers failed to adjust to the Canes clogging the neutral zone and fell back into the pattern of relying on the home run pass – but that’s an old story (see much of last season). To be fair they did generate some great chances in the offensive zone but couldn’t finish. Gotta hit the hit Zbad!

    LOL about the pining for Clendening. You guys make it sound like its Brian Leetch that’s being benched. Yeah, Holden’s terrible but the 6th defenseman can’t be the difference maker one way or the other. This all reminds me of the silly whining about Etem last season.

    • Becky says:

      …except Holden isn’t playing as a sixth defenseman, and Clendening put up great numbers in the starts he had this season. The outlet passing that you bring up in your first paragraph is something that 4 excelled at in his first games with the squad.

      If you’re going to pretend like the two are interchangeable, then at least use them interchangeably and give each a shot.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Becky, you make totally valid points as per usual. Where I disagree is to the urgency of making the switch you are suggesting. As fans, we only see the tip of the iceberg. We have no idea what goes on in practice. We have no idea what influence Gorton might have in this case, since it is at least possible that players are being showcased at his request as part of a possible trade.

        Case in point, last year AV was skewered for benching Hayes. Turned out Hayes came to camp out of shape, something we knew nothing about. Two years ago, he was too tough on Miller. Turned out Miller had work ethic issues that we knew nothing about. In both cases, it was appropriate for AV to address the situation in the manner that he did. We now have much better players because of how AV chose to handle it.

        Clendening is a young player that teams have been very quick to give up on. There’s undoubtedly a reason that we don’t fully know. Maybe AV is doing the tough love thing with him like he did with Hayes and Miller to get him to raise his game in practice. Maybe he sees in hi something special, is therefore tougher on him than the more average Holden, and wants those things fixed before getting him back into the lineup.

        I understand your frustration, but usually there is a method to the perceived madness that we as fans no nothing about.

      • paulronty says:

        Hell Becky, what is wrong with you!!!! Questioning a Hall Of Fame Coach? Inexcusable!!!!

      • roadrider says:

        Last night’s first pair: McD – Girardi
        Last night’s 2nd pair: Staal-Klein
        Last nights’ 3rd pair: Sjkei-Holden

        Did you watch the game?

        I didn’t “allude to outlet passing” in any of my paragraphs.

        As usual you don’t have a clue.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Again, it’s not about how good Clendening is, it’s about how bad the players in front of him are. I will say it slowly so the people that have sarcastic comments about individual players can understand what we are pining for. You ready? Here goes:







      THAT is the coach’s responsibility. How on God’s Green Earth can the coach talk about Clendening’s “inefficient touches” when most of the D men in front of him are turnover machines? Please explain it to me like I’m a 6 year old.

  17. TomM says:

    I saw lots of river hockey last night. If this does not change, it is going to be a short season for the NYR. It is apparent to me (but I don’t have good hockey credentials) that the man to man defensive system is not working and will not work with this personnel. These guys are not awful players but they react or fail to react as if they are often confused. I do agree with AV that the best defense is a good offense, but you still have to keep it out of the net

  18. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Greetings everyone!

    Taking a break from election coverage for a bit to check in. Trying to watch as much Rangers hockey as possible and read your comments when I can.

    I just read roadrider’s comments and I agree 100%. The team plays an average game on the road and they lose, and we go off on this Holden/Clendening nonsense. Clendening is 24yo and has already played for FOUR other teams. He’s on his way to becoming the classic journeyman player. Yet this is the guy we are clamoring about playing more, and that somehow if AV doesn’t play him, this makes him a poor evaluator of talent? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since, as RR said, we did the same nonsense with the recently waived Emerson Etem, and I would add the recently waived Dylan McIlrath (how dare AV not play that kid….it doesn’t matter that not ONE NHL team would pick him up…AV should have played him anyway!), and even some made a huge issue out of AV not playing James Sheppard in Game 7 a few years ago…..and somehow our Game 7 would be “savior” keeps getting PTOs and then released.

    When are we going to learn to stop building up a false mythos about our players that is clearly not shared by people in the league who actually know what they are talking about? These are borderline NHL players on the same level as Tanner Glass. Can they be a useful 12-13F or 6-7D when called upon? Sure. But to go crazy when they don’t play is just ridiculous. Whether Holden plays over Clendening is NOT likely to determine the fortunes of the team.

    I don’t know, maybe, just maybe, not having Kreider in the lineup, who was off to a great start, maybe THAT is more of the reason they’ve looked a little uneven these last few games. Buch is back…Kreider back soon. I’ve been critical of Kreider in the past but I’ve said all along that the Rangers fortunes are tied in large part to whether their supposed “stars” actually become stars in reality. The early returns on Kreider and McDonagh are promising. IF they are finally ready to become elite players, that changes the whole narrative of this team. That’s largely why we lost last year, not because we didn’t play McIlrath or Etem, or did play Glass. Those moves are akin to deciding what meal to serve on the Titanic. It doesn’t matter.

    Instead of dealing with nonsense, let’s look at a few facts….

    2015-16 Rangers vs 2016-17 Rangers

    (league ranking in parentheses)


    2.84 (7) vs 3.63 (2)


    2.62 (16) vs 2.63 (13)

    PP Avg

    18.6 (14) vs 25.9 (6)

    PK Avg

    78.2 (26) vs. 81.0 (15)

    Face Off Percentage

    49.2 (23) vs. 50.4 (12)

    Shots for/GM

    28.5 (26) vs 31.1 (8)

    Shots against/GM

    30.4 (19) vs. 25.3 (2). (Question…if our defense is SO horrible, why are we improved in terms of suppressing shots?)

    Now obviously, we aren’t even to the ten game mark yet, so it’s dangerous to form any conclusions. But the early returns for the Rangers are promising. The offense is deep and possibly dynamic, the PP looks the best it’s looked since the Jagr days, and the defense, while certainly not great, appears to be much better than last season. In every measurable metric, the Rangers have improved.

    I can guarantee that if the AV haters actually had their way, and a new coach had been brought in and these metrics had changed in this manner, we’d be hearing how the improvement is directly attributable to Coach X. Since it’s AV, of course we hear nothing positive….but we do hear the complaints as to why isn’t he playing the journeyman Clendening? Seriously?

    The reason the Rangers are better is not about the coach as much as it is about the talent the coach has this year. The coach wasn’t an idiot last year or a genius this year. He’s the same guy who put together two of the best back to back seasons in Rangers history. What has changed is that Gorton has made some seemingly very good moves to retool and reenergize the team. So far, so good.

    Now, I’m still not sold in the slightest that we are a legit SC contender. We don’t have anywhere near the top tier elite talent that the legit contenders have. But it does appear we have the kind of depth and speed that made us dangerous in AV’s first two seasons. If everything breaks right as it did his first two years, we could surprise some teams.

    And for the the few HHers out there (Hank Haters), you guys always make me laugh. Hank has been THE reason why this team even made the playoffs during Renney and Torts years. He was THE reason why we would win a few rounds those years. He was THE reason why we went to the SCF and was THE reason why we pushed a very talented and much healthier TB team to Game 7. He will easily go down as the best goalie in franchise history. I suspect that the metrics will prove that, on a team with few stars, his play lifted an otherwise average squad to overachieve. He will be a first ballot HOF, no doubt.

    The team is playing well with Hank playing just average right now. That’s a good sign. If history is any guide, Hank will be clicking on all cylinders come mid-season and if the Rangers do make a deep run, he will be the reason why. Mark it down.

    I hope you are all having a great start to the season, and I hope to join you all again more regularly in a few weeks!

    Let’s Go Rangers!!!!!!

    • paulronty says:

      Thank you Dr. Lao!!! Illuminating.

      • Chris F says:


        You’ve been missed sorely around here.

        I hope people read and ruminate on your comment.

    • JoeS. says:

      What a refreshing post, welcome back Eddie! We needed something like this. Although I doubt it makes any difference.

    • Bloomer says:

      Welcome back Eddie. Many of us on this board have been Ranger fans for years. I have been a Ranger fan since the GAG Line roamed Madison Square Gardens. We are all more then familiar with Henrik Lundquist past achievements. He was a rising star at a time when the Rangers fans didn’t have much to cheer about. But in sports you have to live in the here and the now.
      True, Henk is a notorious slow starter, but he had the World Hockey Tournament to work that out. If he is getting a little long in the tooth and can’t perform at the same level game in and game out and continue to be that work horse he has been in the past. Then its up to the coach, to make some adjustments. If that means Raanta makes more appearances, then so be it. Sorry to be the one to break it to you and burst your bubble.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Hi Bloomer!

        I’ve been a fan for 50 years, going back to the final full season at the old Garden. So we’ve shared a lot of similar memories I’m sure. 🙂

        I honestly can’t disagree with anything you’ve just wrote, but I’m not ready to go with the notion he’s slipping. Not yet. The reality is, if that’s true, and Hank can’t be elite, then the season is over. I don’t believe that is the case though.

        I do agree that Raanta needs to play more. I’m assuming the reason that’s not happened is that Benny and Hank both feel that right now, the King can use the work.

        I’m not at all worried about the King. He’ll gear up soon.

  19. Richter1994 says:

    That picture of AV above looks like he’s saying “More gum, now!!”

  20. Richter1994 says:


    Now, Staal is on for 11 of 21 goals against so far this year.

    And Holden has been a complete train wreck. Even AV took him off the top pair and put him on the 3rd pair.

    And so these are reasons why some of us who understand putting out the best players no matter their contracts or circumstances get mad when players, who should be given a chance, like Dylan or Clendening do not.

    • Spozo says:

      Staal was on for the first two goals last night but Klein was the defender at fault for both.

      • Richter1994 says:

        I know what you’re saying but Staal was at fault as well when he was behind the net and then Fast was in front and did not go to Skinner to cut him off. Multiple offenders for sure last night.

        But that stat I posted is pretty damming overall.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Richter, you make a fair point. But what you are missing is that they may very well be getting a chance and we as fans don’t get to see it. None of us attend practice to know what is really going on, right?

      I covered the Rangers and other teams years ago. I can tell you for a fact that my perspective of players, both in terms of their personalities and skill set, was very different when I was on the beat. And in talking with former players, even those of us in the press only get a limited view. This is especially true in this day and age of hockey where the coaches tend not to give the press or fans very much to go on.

      So then it leaves us all to simply speculate, and speculation without sufficient facts can often lead to inaccurate conclusions.

      What do we have to go on then? The coach’s track record. Turned out in the case of Hayes (out of shape), Miller (attitude issues), Etem (not good), McIlrath (obviously not considered good enough by the entire league at this point), the supposed young stars in Vancouver that he refused to play (weren’t really that good) that later we learned their weee very legit reasons why they didn’t play more. No coach is perfect obviously, but where has AV been really off in his assessments that’s come back to haunt him or his teams?

      I guess if the AV Squad were run like a congressional hearing on C-Span, we could all really grill AV and make him justify his every move. But it’s not his job to prove to us that he’s giving these kids a chance.

      His job is to take the assets given to him by the GM and win. Overall, given the talent he’s had to work with, in my view he’s overachieved expectations. That’s why I defend him and don’t microanalyze every move he makes.

      • AZgene4240 says:

        Well said Eddie. With al due my respect, I truly do not know why Adam Clendening is not playing and Holden is not sitting. Is this a political decision per se because Gorton traded away a 4th round pick for Holden? It is very early still and I optimistic the right moves will happen.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Gene, I would doubt it’s about what was traded to get him. But I have no doubt that there are factors that go on in practice that determine who starts that we don’t see. And, as I said, there may be other factors in play. We all know the Rangers have a log jam of talent right now, and there are rumors that they want a defenseman. So if a deal is to be made, isn’t it likely that a defensive piece goes back the other way? Isn’t it possible that they want to play Holden in order to showcase him?

          Just speculating obviously, but my point is, there are often reasons that are not evident to us.

          • paulronty says:

            Are you utterly daft man? Play Holden to showcase him? For who? The Hershey bears?

            “there are often reasons that are not evident to us.”

            Which is why we should never question Garp right? Just be good company men & say boss knows best. It’s a blog fopr chrisakes!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Hi Paul! Missed you buddy.

              Daft? Now, now. Remember, no name calling! 🙂

              Let’s see, the Rangers acquired Holden for a 4th round pick. So we have an idea of his market value. He’s been a marginally successful defenseman who had a pretty good playoff series vs the Wild in 2014. If the Rangers do make a deal to acquire a defenseman, there’s a chance that the team we trade with may need a defenseman back in return. Hardly an implausible scenario. I mean it’s not like we’re talking about trying to trade some player who was waived, wasn’t claimed, was sent to the minors and has absolutely no NHL trade value right? 🙂

              You really need to calm down and not jump to conclusions here about Holden after a mere 8 games. Didn’t you learn your lesson last year after you were ripping on Stalberg, who got off to a slow start. You wanted him to be cut. Turned out he was battling through an injury and played real well in the second half.

              My point is, can’t we see more than eight games before we conclude the deal was horrible?

              As for not questioning the coach, I say question away. But I’ll certainly respond when I disagree.

              Have a great night!

      • Richter1994 says:

        All fair eddie and I certainly respect your opinion and your service in covering the team (wow, pretty cool).

        And yes, we are not at practice and see the behind the scenes stories. Actually I have some pretty good inside info and I am well aware of some of the negative things that you mentioned about those players, and yes they are a factor.

        But then you get to other situations like Stralman, Haggy, and Glass, and these are my opinions for discussion:

        Stralman. The Rangers missed badly on him. He was the perfect D man for AV’s puck moving system. Perfect. While AV is not the GM, you cannot tell me that if AV wanted him and thought that Stralman was his guy, that Stralman would not have been resigned if the coach supported it vigorously. The cap hit was the same as Boyle, just longer term, so the cap was not an issue. They signed G instead who was already beaten up and in decline, in a league that now resorts to speed and skill.

        Haggy. Another huge miss. The cap was an issue for sure, but Haggy stated after the fact that he wanted to stay here and would have taken a one year bridge at $3M to do so. And then have another year to try and work out the cap. Again, I would imagine the coach did not fight for him and the PK suffered big time due to his absence, not to mention the speed he brought to the Rangers’ game on a nightly basis. P.S., they are back to having a speed game, thank God.

        Glass. There is no circumstances to play him, period. This type of player is being phased out, not to mention he’s a terrible player, especially in this “speed and skill” league. But yet, he was here for 2 years, inexplicably played almost every night. There is no “element” he brings to the game that’s beneficial. Our players still get slammed, when he’s on the ice or on the bench. There is no deterrence here. None. All he did was take a spot on the 4th line, rendering that line (along with D. Moore), useless. Depth wins in the NHL, for sure.

        Then there’s the G and Staal signings, and the key minutes they get. There’s more but let’s stop there.

        So the idea that Holden instead of Dylan or Clendening has made our negative feelings toward the coach is not true. These recent events are on top of what has happened in the past. It’s an accumulative effect. Again, all my opinion but that’s where I stand.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Richter, first let me say it’s “opponents” like you that I miss when I’m unable to post. I love a good debate about any topic, and it’s refreshing when it’s done intelligently and respectfully, as you usually do! So thank you!

          Now, let’s take your points about the players mentioned above. While there is little doubt that a coach has input into personnel moves, make no mistake that in the hard cap world we live in, these moves were made by Sather/Gorton, and not AV. We are left only to speculate what AV thought of each player and each move. Here’s my take for whatever it’s worth–

          Stralman–I think there is a slightly convoluted narrative on this one, not specifically from you but from a lot of folks out there. Even folks in the press like Pat Leonard went with this and I disagree. First, we have to remember that Stralman was let go by both Toronto and Columbus before coming to NY. He was a pretty average defenseman under Torts, and it wasn’t until the second half of AV’s first season that Stralman started to really shine. Around that time, the Rangers were making some very significant decisions regarding who to commit to. First it was Hank with the big deal. Then, as McDonagh was ascending and the Rangers defense was clearly the backbone of the team, there was a desire by Sather to lock up a key defensive piece, the thinking being that good defemsemen are hard to find. I know everyone is down on Girardi, but hindsight being what it is, people are forgetting that he was part of one of the best defensive corps in the league. As recently as last year, Claude Giroux said in an interview that Girardi was his choice for most underrated player in the league. He was the shutdown guy they wanted on the ice to stop Ovie and Crosby, which he did in the playoffs time and time again. I think they said to themselves, we signed Hank, we need to keep the defense strong, we’re not sure we can keep Cally, and this guy Stralman is solid but with not much of a track record (as of January 2014). So I can understand the logic, even though today, we might all want a do over.

          As for Boyle, I hear what you are saying but you said it yourself…..money the same yes but it was the TERM that was the issue. They took a gamble on firming up the PP with Boyle, which failed. But if they had instead resigned Stralman for the same money for three more years than Boyle, the Rangers would have surely paid for it elsewhere by losing another key piece down the road. Perhaps Stepan or Zuc. They also were probably thinking that by now, Kreider would be a star and would have to be paying him, and maybe Miller, a lot more than they are now. Those are the tough choices the Cap forces upon teams.

          So as much as I wish we still had him, I don’t fault the Rangers for their thinking on this and if anyone is at fault, it’s the GM more than the coach.

          Hags–you can’t always believe everything players say in the aftermath. But even if true, this happened a year too late for the Rangers. They were banging their heads against the cap ceiling and you have to have some flexibility in case of injury. I do not believe there was any way at all to keep Hags, Zuc and Stepan. One of them was going to have to go. And again, I can’t even fathom that AV wanted Hags out. Think about Hags and AV’s style of play. He’s the prototypical AV player with his speed. This to me was simply the same kind of numbers game that Hawks went through with Sahd and other situations like that. I believe no one wanted to lose him but they felt there was no choice. Again, if there’s blame, it’s more on Sather/Gorton. If this had been this past summer, with the extra space, I’d bet they would have done just what you suggested if he was amenable.

          Staal was signed during the Rangers run to the President’s Trophy. Like with Girardi, undoubtedly to keep what was then arguably the best defensive corp in the league together. If you don’t keep him, with what we knew at that time, who plays defens the next season? Again, probably a move they wish now they hadn’t made, but the responsibility here is on Sather/Gorton much more than on AV.

          Glass? Well, you got me on that one. :). While the decision to sign him was certainly as much Sather/Gorton as AV, how he was used is certainly on AV. But again, some objectivity is needed. We had lost Brian Boyle. There weren’t any good 4th line options out there. Glass was cheap. I would have preferred less years, but with a tight cap obvious they made the deal that way to make it all work.

          Glass year one was part of one of the best Rangers team in their history. It’s hard to really say that there was a better option that year that would have ultimately changed the outcome of the season. Certainly it was NOT James Sheppard. Last year, to me at least, Glass was reasonably ok. He played hard, played physical. And again, I ask you, who would have been better option? They didn’t have the depth they have this year, which is why Glass is in the AHL. If AV was obsessed with Glass, and had so much sway over Gorton, why isn’t Glass on the roster now?

          He played 10 minutes a game for two years, so to me it’s much ado about very little. I just think the whole narrative was a bit overblown. But yes, in terms of Glass, AV gets the “blame”.

          So let’s agree on one mistake personnel wise. Beyond that, his track record has been pretty good I’d say.

          Great discussion my friend!

          • Richter1994 says:

            Thanks eddie, I enjoyed it as well, looking forward to more.

          • Jerry says:

            I must be living in an alternate universe…………. I am actually agreeing with you Eddie on the Hags and Glass points.
            But as far as Girardi (and he has my respect and admiration) and Staal contracts. That’s when a great GM shines. Making tough decisions. That’s when a great GM says, yep we want you, and maybe even need you, but NOT at the dollars you’re demanding.
            So welcome back Eddie, and I am so looking forward to many RESPECTFUL debates going forward. Especially on AV! As for my tenure as a Ranger fan, mid 1956/57 season as a 9 year old. So avid, I had my friends mail me every newspaper article printed in the local newspapers on the Rangers while doing two (well almost two tours in Vietnam), arrange my social calendar around Ranger games, purchased my FL residence with proper exposure so I could get Direct TV and Center Ice………….. etc etc etc

            • Richter1994 says:

              wow, 1956/57, even longer than me. I started as a pup in 1965.

              This sounds totally crazy but I used to get so excited when the Rangers played a home game that was televised on CBS, as home games were not on TV back then, remember? Loved it, lol.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


              I look forward to our discussions as well. Most of all, thank you for your courageous service to our country.

              You and Richter definitely outdate me. But I think it’s fair to say that between the three of us, we’ve seen a lot of Rangers hockey.

              I was on the campaign trail back when this story came out, but I was literally brought to tears when Brooksie wrote the article that whatever the rift was between Jean Ratelle and the Rangers has been healed, and for the 90th Anniversary we might see arguably the classiest Ranger ever to wear the jersey back at the Garden. They need to have his GAG line teammates there when that happens. And they need to absolutely retire that number (sorry Jesper Fast!).

              I hope that happens this season. I’m not ashamed to say I will likely weep when it happens.

              As for your points about Girardi and Staal, you have a very valid point about good GMs looking ahead. But again, all that is on Sather (and probably Gorton too) and probably not very much on AV.

              But in fairness to upper management, you do have to realize that most likely, some other team would have pounced on both in FA and signed them to even bigger long term deals. That’s the market value for veteran defenseman, especially those who, at the time of their deals, were playing well and were part of one of the best defensive corps in the league.

              The question I’m sure the Rangers faced back then was, if not the “twins”, then who? Who plays defense for you? Were there any viable options in FA that wouldn’t be equally risky? The farm system has promise now, but not at the time of the signings.

              The irony is, the injury to McIlrath may well have factored into this. If McIlrath hadn’t wrecked his knee and had lived up to his draft position, there’s a much greater likelihood they would have decided to move on from Girardi.

              Anyway, it’s a fascinating debate!

              • Richter1994 says:

                I would venture to say that if Gorton were entrenched as the decision maker back when G or Stralman needed to be re-signed, as opposed to Sather, then I think things might have been different.

                Sather’s dinosaur views are all over the back end and Gorton’s new NHL thinking is all over the forwards.

      • Richter1994 says:

        BTW, great post eddie, whether I agree with some of it or not.

  21. avsucks says:

    Klien,Giardi and Stall all must go. They knew it all off season. These guys get pinced and cant get the puck out of the zone. And the giveaways geeesssh…

  22. RangersFan says:

    I went to the game last night to see the Rangers against Hurricanes. I watched all the players. Here are the standouts and the not so. Zucc played like such a great player with great vision and always plays well. He is a deal at his contract. He really showed up for the game, so did Buch, Vesey and Zimbanajed. Solid.
    The defense is slow and we just got stuck in our own end way too much and too long. Carolina should not have been able to pin us in like that. The D couldn’t get us moving out of our zone and our D could not stop the Canes only big threat Jeff Skinner. How does that happen? We are not a contender without some Defense changes. I don’t know how to correct it. Staal and Girardi are good as #5 and #6 defenseman only but they get paid too much and are forced up. We are stuck with those high contracts for now. That means we need at least 2 new D in the top four for a shot to get to the finals.
    Nash was invisible. He looked like he just doesn’t care or just is getting old fast. Rangers needed to trade him 2 years ago. I think they should bench him for a game to wake him up to see. Way overpaid at his current state. Also, Stepan was just slow or not engaged. Not sure what’s going on here but i was surprised. Maybe he needs to be with different players or to be moved out. Lundquist is playing too much and looks tired to me. Not sure why he plays so much. He seems to let in 2 – 3 goals a game. Is it fatigue or him declining as he ages?