Game 72: Big challenge in Minnesota

March 18, 2017, by
rangers wild

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


The Rangers are on a second of a back-to-back, facing a Minnesota Wild team that is one of the favorites to come out of the wide open Western Conference. In the West, it’s Minnesota, Chicago, San Jose, and then everyone else. However Minny has cooled off considerably over the last month, playing .500 hockey.

The Wild boast depth and skill up and down the lineup and solid goaltending to boot. There aren’t many holes in their lineup, and it’s a reason why they are with the elites in the West. If you’re looking for a true test of how the Rangers will fare in the playoffs, this is it.


Wild Systems

Bruce Boudreau is the new man in Minnesota and likes to stay aggressive with his schemes. He runs an aggressive 1-2-2 forecheck. The defense are not afraid to get involved in the rush, looking to fly the zone early if there’s a chance for a break.  With a late lead, he will sit back use their 1-2-2 more conservatively. Overall, this is comparable to AV’s system.

When it comes to defensive zone schemes, the Wild will send a forward to challenge the points while everyone else collapses in the zone and overloads the half boards. Their powerplay strategy is a 1-3-1. Their penalty kill formation is generally a diamond force, which sends a player high to challenge the point.

Disclaimer: This post was written well in advance of the game. Lines may be off.

Wild Lines (presumed)

Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Jason Haula-Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart-Tyler Graovac-Ryan White

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Matt Dumba-Marco Scandella
Jonas Brodin-Nate Prosser

PP1: Coyle-Staal-Stewart-Spurgeon-Suter
PP2: Granlund-Koivu-Niederreiter-Pominville-Brodin

Devan Dubnyk gets the start.

Rangers Lines (presumed) 

Pavel BuchnevichMika ZibanejadRick Nash
Chris KreiderDerek StepanMats Zuccarello
Michael GrabnerKevin HayesJT Miller
Tanner GlassOscar LindbergJimmy Vesey

Ryan McDonaghBrendan Smith
Marc StaalNick Holden
Brady SkjeiSteven Kampfer

PP1: Zibanejad-Buchnevich-Vesey-Miller-McDonagh
PP2: Stepan-Hayes-Kreider-Zuccarello-Holden

Antti Raanta gets the start.

Injuries/Scratches:  Jesper Fast (shoulder), Kevin Klein (back), Dan Girardi (ankle), Adam Clendening (healthy), Matt Puempel (healthy), Brandon Pirri (healthy), Henrik Lundqvist (lower body)

Crazy Prediction: Statement win against a good team.

Game time is 7pm. Gifs are on @blueseatblogs. Be sure to follow our snapchat (blueseatblogs) too!

"Game 72: Big challenge in Minnesota", 5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings.
Categories : Game Thread


  1. Richter1994 says:

    So Buch goes from a line up casualty to the top line? Sounds about right.

    • Spozo says:

      As Dave said in the post, this was written a while ago so the lines may be off. It list s Fast as a scratch due to shoulder so I doubt this is the lineup.

      • Richter1994 says:

        I SPOZO you’re right my friend.

        But seriously, how can anyone take a coach like this seriously who benches Buch in favor of Glass?

        • Spozo says:

          I’m sure even you can’t complain about tonight’s starting lineup 😀

          • Richter1994 says:

            Nope I can’t. I don’t complain just to complain. I think I explain myself when I have a problem with something. I do have a problem when the coach makes personnel decisions that are not even close to being right, yes.

            • paulronty says:

              Spozo thinks AV is the second coming of Toe Blake.

              • Spozo says:

                And you’re extra grumpy tonight.

              • Richter1994 says:

                LOL, everyone is entitled to their opinion Pablo, but I would like to ask the AV supporters whether they see the bad personnel decisions he has made over the years as we have.

                Now, let me ask you, you saw the speed in the game against the Wild, would Glass have been the proper choice over Buch? The coach made the right choice.

                AND HE EVEN USED HIS TIMEOUT. lol.

              • Spozo says:

                I’ve critisized AV in the past. I have had some issues with his personnel decisions. I don’t agree with the top pairing minutes Girardi has seen most of the season and he should have rested every 7 games or so. I also won’t get too worked up that AV sat Buch while he played Glass the other night. It was a single game against Florida in March with a playoff spot (and opponent) all but certain. They then travelled to Minnesota and he put Buch back in. I actually don’t have a problem with letting a kid sit out a game every now any then especially when they look lost on the ice and their recent stat line backs up that observation. Tortz did it with Kreider and AV did it with Miller and they both turned out fine.

                If you actually follow what I post here 95% of my “AV support” is responses to other people’s AV hate. Stuff that usually starts out with idiot coach.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I don’t hate the guy, lol. But does he keep the team from being better at times, you bet he does. His job description is to put his team in the best position to win as possible and he doesn’t do that all the time. So he’s not doing his job IMO.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I’m with Spozo on this. I don’t agree with everything AV does. He’s hardly perfect but what HC is? His record speaks for itself. He’s obviously regarded as one of the best coaches in the game today.

              Where I go to his defense is when people make things up, make a big issue over minor issues, and yes, as Spozo said, when we get the AV “hate” stuff. None of that computes with me.

              For the record, although I wasn’t on the blog at the time, I was equally defensive of Torts when he was here, even though some of his decisions were even more perplexing than AV’s (let’s take our only legit scorer in Gaborik and demoralize him and make him a shot blocker–to the point that he was willing to waive his NMC to leave NYC to go to Columbus–perhaps a first in sports history!) Let’s demote an emerging force in Kreider after he had an electric playoff–just a few examples). Once the truth came out about Torts in terms of the effect he had on the room, I reluctantly concluded he had worn out his welcome in NYC.

              Head scratching decisions are hardly unique to AV, even though out here some seem to think so. And often, they are only head scratching because we have just limited info to go by. As we learned later with Miller, Hayes, Lindberg and McIlrath, there often are very legit reasons for moves we don’t understand.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Of course you agree with a fellow AV supporter, I wouldn’t expect anything else.

                I gave the coach credit for last night’s line up. He did the right thing and you saw the results. That was a fast paced game and having 2 pylons like Glass and Kampfer would not have been the right move, so kudos.

          • supermaz says:

            I can complain about the lines…why break up Hayes – Grabner- Miller. Why break up Libdgerg – Fast??? We’re they playing too well together?

            • Spozo says:

              Someone needed to play with Zib and Nash (later on it was Step and Nash). AV decided that should be Miller. If you keep Miller, Hayes, Grabner together then that means, you move Vesey or Buch up to the top line. I don’t think either have played welll enough to warrant that. Personally I have no problem with moving Miller up. However I would have moved Vesey or Buch in to his spot. As you said I would have kept Fast with Lindberg.

            • Ranger17 says:

              Exactly Hayes and Miller have been great together all year , even on the PK and you break them up Fast and Lindberg good together and Fast is a great 4th liner and so so when moved up in the line up .
              Would love to go into next year with a 4th line of 24 , 19 , and 40 Fast won’t have 19 on his back next year Ratelle will finally go up into the rafters ..
              89 – 93 -20
              61 -36 -21
              10 -13 -26
              40 -24 – 19
              Grabner will get his space even on the 4th line . As far as the D pairs go have no idea what AV will do there . Did not think Holden or Smith had good games last night LGR

            • Richter1994 says:

              I agree, the Hayes line should never be broken up.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Why? Miller and Hayes have been up and down. And all I keep hearing is that both are “untouchable stars”. So if the top line is struggling, why wouldn’t we want Miller playing there? I’m not saying that’s the right move, or that the third line hasn’t had many moments of success. But let’s stop treating that line like its the GAG line.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Because that line jells (gels? lol) very well. No line lights it up every night.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Statistically speaking, Hayes and Miller have not been very good for about a month now. You are loooking at the line through a lens that is focused on 2-3 months ago.

                I’m not saying ultimately that isn’t the right call to keep them together. To me, it’s just not the slam dunk you are making it out to be. Many, many factors and other line combos to consider before going all in with this.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Gorton does. 🙂

          Seriously, why are you overreacting? Buch is a kid who is adjusting to a complex system in an unfamiliar league. So he benched him. Big deal. He’s a big boy and I’m sure that somehow, he will be no worse for wear.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Richter (and others who for some reason think young players should NEVER, EVER, EVER be enched for any reason WHATSOEVER), I refer you to this recent column by Rick Carpiniello–

            “Miller putting his personal stamp on a game has become a theme this season, or at least since Dec. 27, when Rangers coach Alain Vigneault dished out his latest of several servings of “tough love” on his young, skilled forward with the big motor.

            “At that point, Miller had three points in 14 games and was – as he has always done, but is doing far less often – making questionable decisions with the puck. Vigneault demoted him to the fourth line for a game vs. Ottawa.

            “Message delivered and received.

            “ ‘I knew I had to be better,’ Miller said Tuesday.

            ” ‘I mean, I went through a 15-20 game stretch where I wasn’t creating much. I was forcing plays, but you’ve got to go back and get a wake-up call. Coming into the locker room that morning, I felt something was going to happen. I didn’t complain. It’s hard at that point, but you’ve got to put your work boots on and try to get back to being simple. When that happens, things seem to open up, you get confidence and you get rolling.’

            “Two seasons ago, Vigneault commented that it would be up to Miller if he wants to be an NHL player, otherwise, the coach wryly adding, he will be a very good AHL player.

            “To his credit, Miller has responded to the coaching tactic that some players need.

            “ ‘Obviously, it’s constructive criticis’ Miller said.

            “ ‘Ever since he had me when I was younger, I knew it was probably better for me. Whether I wanted to hear it or not, in the long run – I mean, I definitely still have work to do on my game. It’s not perfect. I think he’s taught me a lot. He’s hard on his players. He expects his players to perform and play the right way and make that right play when you have a chance.’

            “ ‘I definitely didn’t take it the wrong way. Maybe it’s easy to, but I understood it was for the right purposes.’ “.

            I realize that sometimes true feelings are not revealed to the press, but this doesnt sound like a kid who was at all bothered by this. He had much to learn. AV helped him to learn it. Same for Hayes. Same for Buch. And Hayes and Vesey all CHOSE to play for this crazy coach who apparently isn’t good with kids.

            Doesn’t make much sense does it?

            • Richter1994 says:

              Bro, why get “hysterical” about Glass for Buch? Because Buch is one of the best forwards on the team and Glass is one of the worst in the organization.

              I assume, and it’s a big assumption, that Buch plays in the playoffs over Glass. So why bench Buch NOW? There’s 10ish games left and Buch missed time due to injury.

              Tell me, please, lol, what is the “benefit” to playing Glass over Buch in March? I’m listening. 🙂

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                My friend, I hear what you are saying but with no disrespect intended, I think you are looking at this in a way too black and white manner.

                Obviously, if the question is, who has more talent, Buch or Glass, we don’t need an NHL talent evaluator to tell us the answer. That’s not the point though. Glass was called up because of injury and ineffectiveness. It is pretty undenaibale that the team got a positive jolt for awhile with him in the lineup, and in fairness, he played well. It is also equally true that Buch really has been a shadow of the player he was before the back injury. Is he 100%? Unknown. Is he still learning the game? Apparently yes, since AV referenced that there were things he wanted the kid to work on in practice, and obviously wanted him to observe a few things to help correct some flaws in his game. AV said he would play again soon and voila, he was right back in there. Why in the world is this an issue? This is coaching 101.

                Buch looks like he can be a good player one day. But today, he isn’t even close to being one of our best forwards. My goodness, the way you and others describe our young talent at times, I keep thinking their real names are Eichel and McDavid as opposed to Buch and Vesey.

                I was watching Yankees spring training the other day. Gyber Torres continues his impressive Spring. Yet he will almost certainly go to the minors. Last year and the year before, Javier Baez of the Cubs was arguably the most impressive of their young players. But he struggled with various aspects of his game and clearly needed more seasoning. What? Why isn’t Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon playing their best players. Over the likes of Chris Coghlan or Aaron Hicks? Don’t they realize that young players MUST play at all costs? Regardless if they are truly ready or not. 🙂

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                For the record, I would play Buch over Glass as well…..IF he was doing the things the coaches were asking him to do and he was physically and mentally ready to contribute in the meaningful games ahead. If not, I would not play him.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I don;t necessarily agree that Buch has been invisible. To the contrary, he’s been very active, getting good looks, and almost scoring on numerous occasions. He just hasn’t finished like maybe he should.

                Buch is not getting looks like Nash has, but he does good work IMO. Things that Glass can’t even do on his video game, lol.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                The point is…he’s not one of our best forwards at the moment. He’s a work in progress. Aanother kid with potential who stands a better chance of struggling in the playoffs this year than succeeding. Not saying he cant or wont succeed but I’m not seeing much right now that even remotely screams “best” anything.

  2. paulronty says:

    Eric Staal gets his 24th goal, but he wasn’t good enough for the Rangers. I said let’s sign him if we can do it for 3 million, but oh no it was a terrible trade the BSBers said. No he was misused by our IC(Idiot Coach) AV.

    • Chris F says:

      I’m pretty sure he just sucked last year.

      Blaming coaching or deployment absolves players –even elite talent like Staal– of accountability for their performance.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Exactly Chris…there are some people out here that seem to think that if a coach throws a water bottle, flaps his gums and waves his arms when the cameras are on him, that that somehow means the coach is getting the best out of his players. But if a coach chews gum and stays calm, that means he’s somehow not a good coach.

        The top tier of coaches in the league are all great. In the end, it’s about the players. More so in the NHL than in any other sport IMO.

      • Spozo says:

        Player accountability???


        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I know. I’ll bet the AV haters/Torts lovers had a totally different view of this when Torts benched and demoted Kreider in 2013 following the kid’s amazing playoff run…..a run that probably was THE reason the team avoided an awful first round exit and quite possibly Torts losing his job a year earlier. I guess that was ok but somehow, if AV does it, it’s bad coaching.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Staal got hurt his first game as a Ranger, as he hurt his shoulder against the Isles.

        And yes he was misused.

        A little of both. He’s doing pretty well this year.

        But I also agree that players have to own responsibility too.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Thank you for the objectivity. Accurate assessment as opposed to the flame job used by others out here.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Hard as it is for me to do, I actually agree with you to an extent. The irony is that everyone killed AV for benching an out of shape Hayes for a few games last year, but the truth is he was TOO loyal to Hayes and should have not worried about where or if to play him once the trade for Staal had been made. But he made Hayes the priority over Staal. I would have been ok with what you are suggesting.

      Of course, the flip side is that your blind dislike of the coach doesnt allow you to realize that Staal wasn’t good with Carolina, and really hadn’t been good for several seasons. So is it realistic that he would have suddenly flipped the switch just like that in a brand new system and really have been as productive in NY last year as he is now with a full training camp under his belt in the Twin Cities?

      And since of course in your book every element of player performance is all about the coach, good or bad, I assume you must therefore conclude that Coach Babs failed to get the most out of Grabner and AV gets FULL credit for Grabner’s remarkable resurgence. Only fair right?

  3. paulronty says:

    Brady Skjei scores in front of his hometown fans, cool.

  4. Spozo says:

    Surprised AV took that timeout. He never does that.

  5. Peter says:

    Oscar is having a great game. The kid has become a damn good hockey player.

    Clen-Doh! Is playing, and playing well!

  6. Five Hole says:

    What is up with this garbage PK?

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      It’s a problem. If not fixed, it surely means an early playoff exit regardless of opponent. Still time to do that.

  7. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I have figured it out folks. The answer to our MSG woes is simple. Take a page out of the Dallas Cowboys book. Wear white at home. They will be unbeatable!

  8. Richter1994 says:

    For all the Clendening bashers who watched the game last night.

    Notice, the Rangers came out of their own zone with passes to their own teammates and not just flinging the puck aimlessly out of the defensive zone. THAT’s how you come out of the defensive zone. And as a result, gasp, it allowed the Ranger forwards to come full speed through the neutral zone and put the Wild on their heels.

    And if you also noticed, Clendening was able to put passes right on the tape of his teammates.

    I don’t know why this is so hard to understand, lol.

    • Peter says:

      Glen-Doh! played a good game last night. He can skate decently and can pass pretty well. When he shoots, he usually hits the net too. He has gotten better in the Dzone, but still needs to take the body more. However, with the progress he has made I’d play him over Kampfur, and probably over Klein. He is a young player who has definitely shown signs of improvement. If he keeps the turnovers down and takes the body more he’d be alright. I doubt that AV will play him when Klein is healthy, but who knows.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Peter, my friend, he needs to play and should have been playing.

        What fans are missing is that it’s not that Clendening is so great it’s how bad the rest of them are. I mean seriously, you could take McD and Skjei and get rid of the rest and replace them with young skaters that would make them better right off the bat.

        This is a skating league, did you see the pace of last night’s game? WOW, unreal, on both sides. G, KK, Staal, and Holden can’t keep up. Smith at least has good positioning and can make up for the lack of skating, so they can keep him and probably will. Smith also doesn’t panic when engaged by opponents. Another flaw with G, Staal, Kk, and Holden.

    • John B says:

      More importantly than that, honestly? When our 4 best kept getting hemmed in the zone during the second period, did you notice how his effective use of his stick on 2 or 3 occasions prevented Eric Staal from even getting into our zone?

      But he “sucks” at defense cause he doesn’t block shots or hit people.

      Prevented zone entry, moved the puck in the opposite direction. Sounds like defense to me, but not to too many Rangers fans

      • Richter1994 says:

        Yes I did notice that too John. He actually DISLODGED the puck away from opponents and WON BATTLES to take the puck away. All this in only 10 minutes of play. He also started the play on the Zuc goal.

        Why this guy hasn’t been playing all along is mind boggling, just like benching Buch in March for a player that shouldn’t be in the league.

        That’s our coach. But give him credit. Imagine Glass and Kampfer in last night’s high paced game? lol

    • craig says:

      Richter, I’m definitely not a Clendening basher but not totally sold on him either. He looks good at times when he plays and definately adds something. When he does play, he usually has been well rested and has an extra spring in his legs. I don’t think he has really proven he can be steady yet on a consistent basis. The knock on him, I believe, is at times he gets banged around to much in his own end and seems to lack the strength to fight off bigger more physical players. I have seen him get physically intimidated. He is not small at 6 foot, but is under 200 lbs. Maybe 10 -15 pounds of added muscle may help him against some of the bigger opponents. Also to remember, he is only 24 and hasn’t played a heck of a lot in the NHL and may develop into a very solid defenseman in time.

      • Richter1994 says:

        Craig, again, let me be crystal clear, I’m not on the “Clendening Bandwagon” all I am saying is that he is far better than G, Staal, Kk, and Holden. That’s not saying much at all. Adam has his warts, for sure, and is far from a “good option.”

        But, you play your best players. And IMO, Clendening is the best of a very bad bunch. If it were up to me the D corps would have McD, Skjei, Smith, Clendening, Graves, and either Staal or Holden. To me, those are the best D men options we have.

        Now when Shatty signs here, we re-sign Smith, possibly Graves comes up, and maybe we add someone from the outside in FA, then we get rid of the dead wood here and then Clendening is a 7th D man/filler type.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        I’m in Craig’s camp on this.

        Yes, Clendo had a good game last night. He’s also had lots of poor games. Maybe the lengthy benching got his attention. Maybe he realizes that if he doesnt step up his play or do the things he’s being asked to do, he will be moving on to his SEVENTH organization next summer, and that team might not even be an NHL team.

        If money and term were no object, I would bet that virtually any GM looking for a defenseman for a playoff run and given the choice of ONLY Girardi, Klein or Clendo would take either of the first two. Obviously, none of them are among the best in the league right now, but i think you are totally overvaluing Clendo relative to Klein, Girardi, as well as Holden and Staal.

        Again, I’m not saying there aren’t issues on defense. There are. I’m just saying that I doubt most coaches would have made a different choice than AV has made regarding Clendo.

        That being said, players DO emerge all of a sudden. Perhaps AV’s tough love coaching will finally get through to him. 🙂

        • Richter1994 says:

          Seriously bro, G and KK should never play for the Rangers ever again, and Staal and Holden are “tolerable.” They’re not good, they’re tolerable.

          • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

            Staal is murdering McD

            • Richter1994 says:

              You have 3 good regular D men and 3 awful D men. That’s the reality of the situation right now. And Clendening is the best of the awful D men.

        • craig says:

          Thanks Eddie,
          I don’t believe that Staal has been as bad as everybody is saying lately. Somebody is saying, “Staal is ruining McDonagh”. Are they watching the same team everyone else is? McDonagh is having one of the best years of his career. Holden was good for most of the season (a steal) and may have tailed off somewhat lately, but is not as bad as many are saying. I’m gonna catch some flack on this, but since Girardi has been out, the PK has been terrible. Maybe just a coincidence. I am NOT a fan of his! A problem the Rangers have had this year is not scoring goals and not finishing plays as well as the Power play which became inconsistent. There defense is not that great, but not as bad as some bloggers are saying. Smith has been a help. Next year the D should be better.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Craig, he’s not good. He can’t skate and keep up with the current pace of the NHL now. That in itself makes him a bad D man.

            Is he better? Yeah, ok, so he went from disaster to bad. That’s not good enough for a contending team.

            You can’t have 3 bad D men in your line up and expect to go far in the playoffs. Everyone is getting giddy but who have the Rangers played lately? And Raanta probably won the game for them in Minny.

            f the Rangers do not get God like goaltending no matter who is in nets then this will be a “one and done” for the Rangers, no matter who they play. The Wild forwards were blowing by the Rangers’ D men left and right on Saturday night. Raanat was outstanding to get the win.

            • craig says:

              No argument here my friend,
              I’m just saying that the whole team is inconsistent at times as evidence by their home record. They seem to lose concentration. Maybe cause the forwards have to compensate to much for the bad defense?This is not just the fault of the defense. There are definitely. to many offensive opportunities in their own end. They still have McDonagh, Skeij, Holden and Smith. That’s not as bad as we may think. Any team that is going far in the playoffs, must have tremendous goal tending. That’s a no brainer.

  9. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    Nice they showed up and decided to play more then 5 mins this game

  10. Walt says:

    Good road win, and an exciting game to a certain extent. Is it me, or were there an unusually high number of odd man rushes against us last night? As a matter of fact, we had plenty of them as well……Can anyone please explain to me why the hell Stepan is on the first PP? The guy brings absolutely nothing to the table, give his time to Miller, or Hayes for goodness sake!!!!

    Doc, I watched Charlie Coyle last night, only because you like the guy, he is good, your right !!!!!!!!!

    • paulronty says:

      Had to leave after the first period(watch movie with wife & make her caramel corn,lol), but glad you like Coyle because that guy is the first into the zone & pretty much always comes out with the puck along the boards. Don’t know if the Wild would trade him, but I’d give them Stepan & Fast for him any day of the week.

  11. Five Hole says:

    If you were to play a drinking game and take a shot every time Stepan’s name was mentioned last night, you would have died of thirst.

    I’d trade him straight up for Coyle. Too bad the money doesn’t match up.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Honestly, I don’t know what’s with Stepan. Forget about scoring, he’s not been noticeable at all. Nash doesn’t score but he makes things happen. Is it that he got the money?

      I was on the fence because it would be nice to have 3 solid centers but he’s got to be traded by July1, no question.

  12. Rangers_underscore says:

    The 4th line scored and was important to the Rangers win. If Glass was in the lineup, our 4th line would not have been offensive and we may not have won.
    This is an important point which I have been bringing up about AV. When the game becomes important or on the line, you must put your best players in. You don’t take out an offensive talent for a checker with no offensive capabilities. Or put an extra defenseman in for an offensive player when you need to score 1 or 2 goals in the game.
    We are as strong as our weakest link and unfortunately, our coach is the weakest link. I can see the team is not playing with as much passion because the players probably figured out the driver is going to put the team in the wrong gear when it’s important.
    History is only repeating itself again.

    • Walt says:

      I agree, but think about this if you would:

      Why bust my hump for playing time when I know good, and well I won’t play due to Marv’s favorites?????????

      Last year it was Boyle over anyone else, how did that work out? Then Miller sat, got jerked around, as did Hayes, but Swifty, as the coach refers to him, played all the time. McIlrath was playing reasonably well, even E3 admitted it last year, yet Boyle, a crippled Girardi, a broken bone in the foot of Mac Truck, and the kid sat. All the criticism that Matv gets is well deserved. To all reading this, I’m not a McIlrath at all costs guy, but the way the d played last year, he played well with Yandle, but never really got a chance to prove himself like some who get a much longer leash!!!!!!!!!!

      Yes he has been traded, and also was placed on waivers, but I’d take him over Danny boy anyday of the week!!!!!!!!

      Still no one has answered my question I posed earlier, why the hell is Step on the PP?????? The guy sucks the air out of the PP everytime he’s on the ice!!!!!!!!!

      • Spozo says:

        I’d assume it’s his team leading number of PP assists which is 6 more than the next forward.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          You still haven’t gotten the memo, Spozo. Assists no longer count as a legit stat. 🙂

          • Walt says:


            Don’t put words in my mouth, I was never the one who said assists, or points don’t count…….Keep the record straight…..

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


              Sorry for the confusion, I should have been clearer. I was NOT referring to you on the subject of assist. The assists discussion was raised by others although to be honest I cant remember who. 🙂

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                But while we are on the subject, over the last 16 games, since the Rangers had their five game winning streak snapped, they have gone a rather pedestrian 8-6-2. Not awful, but not great. The offense has completely dried up during this this stretch.

                Since you and I do agree that assists have value, let’s look at our leaders during this time among our forwards…

                Kreider 4-6-10. -1
                Zuccarello 3-7-10 +3
                Stepan 1-6-7 +3
                Mika Z. 4-3-7. +3 (15 games)
                Nash 2-4-6. +6 (15 games)
                Miller 2-4-6 +1
                Buchnevich 2-3-5 +3 (10 games)
                Hayes 2-2-4 -5
                Vesey 2-2-4 -3

                No one has been lighting it up, but Miller and Hayes have not been especially productive. And in fact the case can be made that Stepan has been just as “effective” during this stretch if not more so.

                Bottom line, we need to get our offense going to have a chance to advance, but Stepan is not our biggest underachiever right now.

        • Walt says:

          Because he doesn’t play the likes of Hayes, and Miller anywhere near the time he plays Step. Can you honestly say that Step is so much better than these two, that he deserves double the PP time? Come on please, the guy is a dud……….

          • Spozo says:

            It’s a good thing these stats are so easily accessible.

            This season on the PP Hayes has a pts/60 of 2.9, a g/60 of 0.6, and assists/60 minutes of 2.3

            Zibanejad: pts/60 of 3.5 a g/60 of 1.0, and assists/60 minutes of 2.5.

            And now Stepan, the clear anchor of the group and the centerman that is clearly a detriment to those around him:
            pts/60 of 4.6, a g/60 of 0.6, and assists/60 minutes of 4.0.

            also in the last 5 seasons, Between Hayes and Zib they have a single season where either one of them put up greater than 4.0 points/ 60 minutes of PP time and that was Hayes in his rookie season. Stepan has had over 4.0pts/60 on the PP 4 out of the last 5 seasons.

            I’m sure you will point out that the reason is that Stepan gets to play top PP minutes….conveniently something that cannot be quantified. And I’m sure Zib saw top PP minutes in Ottawa. All I know is that Stepan has produced better than either of them this season and for the last 5 seasons.

            But please what else do you have to show that Zib and Hayes should be getting more of Stepans PP time.

            • Spozo says:

              And yes you are right that Stepan gets more ice time on the PP than both of the other centers. But Zib averages 2:29 PP time per game. Stepan averages 2:37 a game. A whopping 8 more seconds. So after reading these two responses, what is your reasoning for wanting to cut back on the “duds” ice time in order to give more to Hayes and Zib?

              As I stated above in response to Richter about my “love” for AV, I’m not in love with Stepan. I just call BS when I see it. And when someone tells me that’s he’s awful and a dud, and Zib and Hayes have been outperforming him, I see BS.

              • Walt says:

                I mentioned Hayes, and Miller !!!!!!!!!

                I’ll say it again, Stepan brings nothing to the table, period !!!!!!!

              • Spozo says:

                Miller and his 2.6 pts/60 minutes of PP.
                Yet Stepan is the useless one.
                This is kinda funny actually.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Oh boy, guys, i know you are both unabashed AV haters, but aren’t you being just a tad over the top here?

        None of us have any idea what’s truly going on in any sports clubhouse. But in this day and age, especially in NY, stuff gets out. Let’s deal factually and unemotionally with what we either do know for certain here and what was widely reported and is pretty well established as true.

        Four years ago, Torts was let go in large part due to the fact that he had lost at least some segments of the room and had worn out his welcome. Sather and Gorton obviously proved in that instance that a coach would not be retained in that circumstance. The decision– Torts out, AV in, on ice results improved, and even though he still had a season and a half left on his contract, management thought enough of the job AV has been doing to not only extend his contract, but offer him a raise that makes him among the elite “super coaches” contract wise in the NHL. This was something they absolutely did NOT have to do at that time, and in fact if it had been me even I wouldn’t have done it until after the season was over.

        Do you honestly believe that Gorton would give AV such a deal if ANY of what you just said was true? Especially since the moves last summer and the lack of moves at the deadline suggest the Rangers are doubling down on a youth movement right now? Wouldn’t job ONE be to hire a coach that excels at bringing along and cultivating young players?

        They looked at the job he did with Miller (who was NOT jerked around….that’s fan stuff that has no basis in fact…he had work ethic issues that were confirmed. He even admitted himself a few weeks ago in an article this tough love he got from AV was what was needed), with Hayes (out of shape in year two but real good in year one and this year) with Skjei, with Kreider (who Torts had little use for but has slowly emerged as a very good player) with Zuc when he was a young player, and on it goes. Gorton saw that Hayes and Vesey CHOSE to come to play for THIS coach, when they could have gone anywhere else. There is NO chance they come here if any of what you and underscore are suggesting is even remotely true.

        Do you honestly believe that the NY press, especially Brooks, wouldn’t LOVE to write a story about the dysfunction on the hockey side of MSG (given how the press has had a field day on the hoop side of the equation) and talk about how “demoralized” (as you both seem to be suggesting) the players are playing under a coach who supposedly plays favorites? Or if not Brooks, you think McKenzie or Friedman wouldn’t be all over this if there was even a HINT of truth to ANY of this?

        You believe playing Fast in some way demoralizes the team? This is the same Fast who was voted Players’ Player Award?

        What does ALL this evidence point to? That what you are saying simply is not true.

        Can AV be rightly criticized for some of his moves past and present? Sure. You want to show me a coach that hasn’t made his share of head scratchers?

        I agree…Boyle should have sat more. Girardi too. And yes, I thought McIlrath should have gotten more of a look. But the events of the past year with DMAC clearly shows that you and me and anyone else advocating for that were just flat out wrong. He is not TODAY an NHL caliber player. He was waived not once but twice. He was a throw in in some deals. Every NHL coach and GM essentially corroborated AV’s evaluation–at least for the moment. Maybe we all owe AV an apology? :). And really, what other options did AV have? Cap space limited what could be done last year on defense, and it was more than fair to give Girardi a chance to abounded back given the lack of legitimately better options.

        As for Stepan, look, you have a valid point but it’s not like we are blessed with tremendous options here. There are a lot of other “untouchable stars” that also cant find the back of the net. And this PP issue went on under Torts and Sully too (amazing how smart Sully got on the PP with the talent he has to work with in Pit!). I’m not sure what the answer is, but you are the first one advocating for stability on lines and units instead of jerking people around. But I guess that doesn’t apply to the PP, or to players you don’t like?

        Btw, along those lines Walt, this from AV a few days ago on your favorite topic–line stability.

        “No doubt. One of the things we try to do with our lines and our D pairs. We’ve had our share of injuries this year but moving forward, if we can find combinations that have good chemistry we’d like to keep them together.”

        So maybe you will get your wish Walt. But remember, none of these players are what I ‘d call GAG line material, so juggling lines is more than understandable for this group of “non-stars”.

        • Walt says:

          You ramble on about Torts, and defend this guy, that’ your prerogative, but you failed to answer the main point of my post, which is why would anyone bust their hump for this coach, who will play his favorites come hell, or high water ?????? He showed me what he’s made of, again broken knee cap, broken foot, small undersized Boyle who couldn’t catch onto the Pro cess, yet they played. Bottom line, I’m not, nor will I ever be a fan of Marv !!!!!!!!!!

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Because if there was any indication that what you are saying is actually true (players not willing to bust their hump for AV), there’s zero chance Gorton would give him a mega-deal extension. That’s the proof right there. Gorton did his homework and concluded AV is not only the best choice for this current group, but worthy to be paid among the superstar coaches of the sport.

            The rest is your subjective opinion my friend, which is your perogative but obviously upper management did not feel any of those calls were that far out of line, right?

            I’m not specifiallly a fan of the coach as much as I am a fan of someone who gets the most out of what he’s got. In my view, that’s what AV has done. AV wins and has done so more successfully than any Rangers coach of the past 40 years…and is doing so with a roster that isn’t going to likely have more than one retired number when it’s all said and done.

  13. Peter says:

    Well, can AV at least get a little love here for NOT playing Glass and for playing Clen-Doh! In what turned out to be a fast paced game against a very good team, and winning? 😀

    Also, Oscar has had a good couple of months. I think the kid is a keeper he has been stellar on the 4th.