Mar
20

The benefits of scoring and skill depth

March 20, 2017, by
pavel buchnevich

Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

It’s no secret that I am a big proponent of four skill lines that can put the puck in the net. If I haven’t come out and said it, it’s been implied in almost every post I’ve written about lineup decisions and forwards. The best teams in the league, the ones that are true Cup contenders, are ones that have four skill lines. And the reason is simple. Matchups.

The Rangers’ fourth line scored twice on Saturday against Minnesota –a game I did not watch, as I was at a wedding– while dressing three young skilled guys on that fourth line. It was the first game in a week where the most polarizing fourth line player in history (Tanner Glass) did not play. Jimmy Vesey and Oscar Lindberg scored. Lindberg and Pavel Buchnevich also had assists.

Adam Clendening, in for Steven Kampfer, also had an assist.

The matchup against Minnesota was one where the Rangers absolutely needed the speed and skill. Minnesota can move the puck up and down the lineup, and the club needed to counter that speed with speed of their own. It’s how the best in the NHL play the game nowadays.

And without that fourth line, perhaps the Rangers lose the game. We honestly don’t know, but we can infer that without three truly skilled players, the Rangers do not score those two goals. And therein lies the key here. Matchups.

A fourth line will almost always draw bottom defense pairings. It’s more of a default since coaches will match their best defensemen against top lines, but the favorable matchups are there nonetheless. In a game where you need to outscore your opponent, taking advantage of such matchups becomes critical to future success. This is especially true in the playoffs.

The Rangers will have a date with either Ottawa or Montreal in the first round. Currently the Habs’ third pair is Nathan Beaulieu-Jordie Benn. For the Sens it’s Mark Borowiecki-Chris Wideman. Close your eyes for a second. Picture Buchnevich shredding either of those pairs and dishing to Vesey in front of the net for a goal. Now picture Tanner Glass attempting to do the same thing.

Exploiting matchups with scoring depth is how the best teams win Stanley Cups. Yes, the elite talent and top line talent is still critical. However remember how much the HBK line scored for Pittsburgh? That was their third line, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin drawing top-four matchups on separate lines. Matchups are everything.

For the Rangers to succeed, they will need to exploit every matchup possible. Their defensive unit isn’t strong, so they will need to outscore their opponents. What better way than to dress one of the more dangerous fourth lines in hockey?

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Categories : Forwards

76 comments

  1. Mythdoc says:

    Lowlights of a Lost Coaching Era
    (Per NHL.com)

    -The Rangers lead the NHL in road wins this season (26) and since the start of the 2013-14 season (98).
    -The Blueshirts are tied for the NHL lead in wins since the start of the 2013-14 season (189). The Rangers’ 189 wins since 2013-14 are the most in any four-season span in franchise history.
    – Since Dec. 22, 2015, the Rangers have posted a 37-9-2 record in the game following a loss (regulation or overtime/shootout). New York has posted a 20-5-2 record in games following a loss in 2016-17.
    – In their last 95 back-to-back sets (since the start of the 2010-11 season), the Rangers have posted a 63-26-6 record in the second game of the set.
    – The Rangers have posted a 20-5-0 record in games against Western Conference opponents this season. The Blueshirts lead all Eastern Conference teams in wins against teams in the Western Conference in 2016-17.
    – All of the three rookies in the Rangers’ lineup recorded a point in tonight’s contest (Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich, and Jimmy Vesey), and two rookies recorded a goal in the contest (Skjei and Vesey). Each player has tallied at least 19 points this season. Prior to this season, the last time the Rangers had three rookies who all registered 19 or more points in the same season was 1999-00 (Mike York, Jan Hlavac, and Kim Johnsson

    • Richter1994 says:

      And I would trade all of that in for one Cup.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Excellent find Mythdoc! Pretty amazing accomplishment when you consider we have some on this blog who truly believe that AV is the weak link, and that because of that the players are demoralized and don’t give their all for him. Kind of busts that “myth”…(pun intended!).

      Walt and Richter, I’m right with you though in your sentiment. I too would trade that all for a Cup. But why would a coaching change accomplish that? Let’s say somehow we could pry away Coach Q form Chicago or Coach B from Toronto and then eat the remainder of AV’s contract to get one of these SC winners. Do you honestly believe that they could improve on what AV has accomplished? The likely scenario is that Coach Q would revert to his pre-Blackhawks form and become a bridesmaid coach, and Coach Babs would do what he did in his final six seasons in Detroit—suffer one early playoff exit after another. Those guys won Cups when they had great talent with future HOFers on their rosters. They were “Marv” as Walt puts it when they had merely good talent.

      You both have complained that we have pylons on defense, Walt you’re complained that Stepan and Fast are terrible. If all that is true, you can bring in the ghost of Toe Blake and not likely get better results than what AV has achieved with this group.

      All things considered, AV has done an impressive job with a less than impressive roster. Gorton knows it too and that’s why he got the extension and raise.

      • Walt says:

        when all’s said and done, if Marv wins us a cup, I’ll praise him for it, not until then!!!!!!!!

        • Tom O Hawk says:

          Great comeback. What does that have to do with the fact that you cry about about how half the team stinks and call them all the stupid ass names but then blame AV for not winning a cup with this team. You wouldn’t praise him if he won 5 cups with this team. You’re more happy calling him Marv so you got something to complain about.

          • Walt says:

            Tom Tom Tom

            When he wins 5 cups, I’ll sing his praises at the top of a mountain, until then he’s still Marv to me. Glad you appreciate the names, I work hard at trying to be original!!

      • John B says:

        Why does it have to be A or B. There is ground in between.

        Look, AV is a very good coach who has an excellent offensive system when it is used by players that can excel in his style. He’s deployed the same offensive system in each and every one of his coaching stops. He has a wonderful regular season winning record.

        However, he has exhibited limited playoff success and has fallen short of the Stanley Cup championship because he has, deployed the same offensive system without adjustment. His lack of in game adjustments, to the issue at hand, is mind boggling; example- Team A is hemming the Rangers in their own end because they can’t execute a break out pass his solution is to juggle forward lines, or Team B is stopping the long outlet pass his solution continue to try the long outlet pass.

        Secondly, here in the services we are drilled repeatedly that if you APPEAR to be playing favorites you ARE playing favorites. Holding players ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ accountable for “bad” games but never holding players ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c’ accountable for the same exact and sometimes worse infractions is the very definition of playing favorites. He does this to the detriment of the team by NOT fielding the BEST lineup combinations and placing the player in a position to fail or not excel. None of this paragraph can be debated, there is no way anyone can look at the events of the past 4 seasons and disagree.

        Third, James Dolan does not have to “eat” any of the contract extension. He can fire AV the day after it takes affect, and if AV is granted permission to talk to another club and they hire him, Dolan owes him nothing. There is no penalty on the team, no cap hit, nothing.

        Lastly, I don’t want another retread NHL coach. There are hundreds of excellent coaches that are out there right now at various levels who are enhancing where hockey is going, not where its been. I would love the Rangers to find that guy. We wont though, because he won’t be a NAME.

        • Rich S says:

          Very well said john B………
          AV is a one-dimensional coach……he makes no in game or playoff season adjustments except for blaming and benching his younger players…..
          He seems content to lose and then say we gave our best….
          Or that we need to make some [player ] changes, never says I need to change my strategy ….
          Reminds me of when Messier arrived and realized very quick that then rangers coach roger neilson had just 1 breakout play and as soon as the other team stopped that he was lost……result was neilson out, keenan in and a stanley cup

          • paulronty says:

            And this is the TRUTH!!!

            • Chris A says:

              Yeah, and Keenan, ever the egomaniac, almost blew that Cup.

              • paulronty says:

                Almost LOL!!!! Thanks Mike for that speech before game Mess called “best best FN speech I ever heard” — YA!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Chris, you of course speak the truth.

                But be careful. Paul doesnt ever want anyone to bad mouth his talented but extremely flawed favorite coach, even though the facts are overwhelming that he nearly derailed his own success. Many of his players like Leetch had little use for him and if it hadn’t been for Messier essentially acting as de facto coach, and PLEADING with him to not give up on their chances, the team would have surely imploded. Keenan was such a great leader of men that he chose to pursue an exit strategy in the MIDST of the SC Playoffs. Kind of like a general saying I’m out of here in the midst of battle. I would call that the most cowardly act I’ve ever seen in sports. It’s been reported by so many different writers, but it doesnt matter. DonRonty loves his alternate facts!

                Also be careful, because DonRonty will soon think that you are actually me! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Tom O Hawk says:

            Now he’s a one dimensional coach that makes no in game adjustments yet I’ve seen a ton of complaints about him juggling around the lines during the game.

            • Walt says:

              That’s not adjustments, by adjustments we mean strategy, not wholesale changes of line members every other shift. Sorry fella, you don’t understand?

        • paulronty says:

          Can’t argue with that. The coach is one of the most underrated factors in winning that damned Cup. He devises the strategy, before & in game, & just as important is the unquestioned leader of a group of men, who need to come together as a team, with all that team entails. The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            The coach of course is important. The GM is far more important. The players matter the most.

            If the coach matters as much as you say, why didnt Keenan win multiple Cups with talented teams? Why did his career unravel post-NY? Why did Coach Q fail to lead talented StL teams to the Cup? Why did Coach Babs fail rot advance his team past the second round in his final six Detroit seasons?

            Of course great coaching matters. And I do agree–the whole is greater than the sum of its parts….which is why AV has done a great job with a flawed roster that has no legit stars other than Hank. This is arguably the best run of success in 40 years for this team. This coach has succeeded with what he’s had to work with. And obviously Rangers management wholeheartedly agrees!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          John-

          I agree with your point that there is ground in between. I just don’t agree with the crux of your complaint.

          LImited playoff success? He’s won five playoff series in NY in three seasons, more than Emile Francis did in ten, and two more than his predecessor did in five Springs. Barry Trotz would fit the description of a coach with limited playoff success. AV has been quite succesful in post season, but he hasn’t won it all. In NY at least, his teams lost to better teams.

          In game adjustments are subjective. You have to have the talent to be able to play different styles. It would be like asking Reggie Jackson to lay down a bunt. I’m not saying there isn’t validity to what you are saying, but my point is that the more talented the team, the more you can adjust. I’ll bet the exact same things were said about Coach Q in St. Louis, where he was skewered, and even Coach Babs in Detroit with his quick playoff exits post cup.

          Any coach that falls short can be questioned, I get that. I just think the analysis is WAY over the top.

          You say services? If you are in the military, then we thank you for your service. But with all respect, the military is a very different animal. I run a very highly succesful news operation. I can assure you that I (and my competitors and colleagues) do NOT treat everyone the same. We all have our favorites. And young talent has to be taught tough lessons at times in order to grow and progress.

          In sports, every team I have ever covered. Every coach and GM I have ever known ALL play favorites. It is human nature. Some players need the tough love. Some don’t. Some players who are your best talents need to be held to a higher standard if the unit is going to achieve excellence. Torts played favorites. Keenan played favorites. They all do.

          It most definitely CAN be debated and I thoroughly disagree.

          On the contract, of course, technically you are correct. But realistically? Let’s be serious. Why on earth would they give him an extension and a HUGE “superstar coaching level” contract if they weren’t extremely pleased? There was NO reason whatsoever to give him a that deal now. With another year to go on the deal, Gorton could have easily waited until the season was over to decide whether to retain AV. Sorry, but what you’re saying here does NOT add up.

          On the last point, I will re-post the back end of the discussion we were having on the previous page…..

          In terms of โ€œexpanding our visionโ€, how many teams are going to hire a guy with a thin professional coaching resume? Especially contenders. Who did Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, LA, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, NYI, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington and Winnipeg all hire for their most recent openings? (Interim not included). Veteran coaches with varying degrees of NHL head or assistant coaching resumes. Itโ€™s hardly a NY phenomena to look to experience.

          The handful of teams that went with little to no NHL experience? Colorado, NJ, Philly and TB. TB has worked out very well, no doubt (even though I think heโ€™s quite overrated given the talent he has had). The others I would say the jury is very much out on.
          .
          Remember when Torts was fired and one of the rumored candidates was Dallas Eakins, the up and coming must have coach of the Marlies? Edmonton hired him and he flamed out pretty fast.

          Sure, you can get lucky with an unknown. But if youโ€™re a GM, especially a rookie GM, are you going to take that risk, especially if your team is a contender? I donโ€™t think many would.

      • Joe S. says:

        Eddie, you will not get through to these guys talking sense. Their issues are that AV has not won a cup, and that makes him a bad coach. Non-sensical?, yes, as there are many great coaches in every league at every level that have not won championships. Why?, because a whole hell of a lot more goes into winning a championship then a great coach, as you’ve mentioned a million times. You need the players, to be healthy, good coaching, playing the system and most of al, and every championship team has had it, you need some luck. Look at the 1986 NY Mets, to me perhaps on of the greatest teams ever assembled, but if not for Bill Buckner, there is no championship!

        • Rich S says:

          Av has gone into the playoff 4 times with either the best [ presidents trophy] team or second best team [ canuks and rangers] ……odds on favorites to win I believe on two occasions…….great goalies , very good defenses and adequate scoring , yet has come up empty each time…..
          Average coach at best!!!!!!!

          • Joe S. says:

            Sooo, Them great players, teams, goalies, etc. couldn’t get the job done, huh? It was their coach that doomed them. Sorry, but I’m not buying what you are selling!

            • paulronty says:

              Yep, screwing with Roberto Luongo’s brain was the self destructive strategy that led to him playing the worst hockey of his life & demanding a one way ticket out of Dodge.

            • John B says:

              The Canucks had a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals. Claude Julien made adjustments leading into game 3 and the result was an 8-1 and 4-0 whoopings that evened the series. AV failed to adjust to Boston’s counter and the rest is history.

              While not stellar, Vancouver scored 4 goals in the first two games. They scored a total of 4 goals the remainder of the series, getting shutout twice, and half of their 4 goals coming in Game 6.

              Claude Julien adjusted to AV’s deployments and schemes. AV did not readjust and continued the same offensive philosophy throughout the series.

              Again, AV is a decent coach. He’ll win you a lot of regular season games. However, his flaws are self inflicted and most of the time fatal to his teams ultimate success. As Joe F. said, AV is a good coach, however there is a very high likelihood he’s not the right coach for this team.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                The Canucks were shut down by Tim Thomas, who I areguably had the greatest post season by a goalie of the past decade. Simple as that.

                AV rallied the Rangers past the mighty Pens in 2014 and the mighty Caps in 2015, becoming the first coach in NHL history to rally back from 3-1 deficits twice in two years.

                Not bad for a bad playoff coach who supposedly cant adjust. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Walt says:

          Because E3 says so, we have to take his word as gospel. All he does is cut, and paste the same old sh*t about how wonderful Marv is, and his system is second to none, and he’s a sure future HOFer, all reterical BS.

          You have your opinion, I respect it, we have ours, so how about you respect it as well? Marv has alway been a great regular season coach, no doubt, but when the ball is in his court, and pressure is applied, he can’t think on his feet.

          As John stated above, rather eloquently, Marv does this organization a disservice by not fielding the best team each, and every game. I would bet the critics of AV don’t hate the man, they hate his stubbornness, and I fall into that category!!!!!!

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Walt-

            I’m sorry if I somehow touched a nerve here with you. I’m perplexed. My opinion is no more valid than anyone else’s. All I’m doing is making my point. How is it any different than you essentially saying the same thing over and over again about why you DON’T like the coach? I respect your opinion and everyone’s out here. We just happen to disagree on many things. That’s what this blog is about right?

      • Rangers_Underscore says:

        It is terrible that people want to rehash the 2013-14 season. Stupid AV had the team go through 3 seven game series. Finally I remember AV got out coached when The Kings changed lines and AV did not match him and G was responsible for the Rangers loss.
        AV could not close the deal and is responsible for the failure.

        • Joe S. says:

          This seems to have an air of sarcasm. I sure hope so.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Well once again, you are wrong Underscore. In 2014, the Rangers ousted the Habs in 6. You must be thinking of 2012, when Torts barely got by the 8th seed Senators in 7, the Caps in 7, and then the team was totally gassed and lost to a vastly inferior Devils team.

          The Kings won because they were the far better team. Simple as that.

          • Walt says:

            E3

            We lost because we were out hustled, out musceled, and out coached. Here again, we disagree, and probably will over 90% of the time when it comes to this coach!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              That’s true….on this coach, we will rarely agree my friend.

              But I would like to know…..do you feel we were “outcoached” in 2012 when we lost to the Devils? Or all the other early departures under Torts? Or does the “outcoached” narrative only apply to AV?

              • Walt says:

                We sure as heck didn’t have the skill set under Tort’s as we do under this coach. You, yourself have said so on many occasions!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I don’t recall saying that exactly. Is the team different under AV? Sure. But let’s not forget, Torts had Gaborik, perhaps the only real pure scorer we’ve had here in a decade. Torts chased him out of town because he wanted him to block more shots. Brilliant! Torts had Nash in his prime. He had Richards. He had Girardi and Staal at their best. He had Hank at Hank’s apex.

                The Torts fans love to make Torts into this Houdini who created Chicken Salad out of Chicken S$%&. It’s simply inaccurate. His average point total was one point WORSE than what was delivered under Renney. Renney won two playoff series in three springs. Torts won three in five. A statistical drop off.

                Yes, I would absolutely agree that as a singular element, the job he did in 2012 in winning the EC regular season title was SPECTACULAR coaching. No doubt. But that’s mitigated by the fact that his team could barely get by a bad Ottawa team in the first round, and by the time he got to the ECF, his team loses to a very mediocre and underwhelming Devils team. You are always the one to say the regular season is “drive for show” and the playoffs are “putt for dough”. Does that analysis NOT apply here?

                And again, while I acknowledge that the team has evolved skill wise, much of that I suspect is due to AV himself, who wanted an upgrade in skill that Torts never seemed interested in at that time. And there’s no getting around this basic fact–AV in his first season, taking essentially the same core squad that Torts had the year before, far exceeded what Torts did. Meanhwhile, Torts goes to Vancouver, succeeds AV, epically crashes the car, and then after he’s canned, the team bounces back the next year to the level AV had them at before he left.

                Sorry my friend…but the evidence is pretty clear as to who was the more succesful Rangers coach. And if AV is responsible for the so-called playoff “failures” in NY, then I think it’s only fair to hold Torts accountable for his playoff shortfalls.

      • paulronty says:

        I thought it was only schizophrenics who talk to themselves?

    • John B says:

      “โ€“ The Rangers have posted a 20-5-0 record in games against Western Conference opponents this season. The Blueshirts lead all Eastern Conference teams in wins against teams in the Western Conference in 2016-17.:

      And they’ve posted a 25-19-0-3 record against the Eastern Conference, the conference they have to get through to even consider a Western Conference opponent. They’ve scored 135 GF against the East while giving up 130 GA. Against current or likely Eastern playoff teams they’ve scored 72 GF and giving up 87 GA.

      All in all, putting the cart before the horse?

      • paulronty says:

        Well done, Eddie is not the strongest on logic.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Can you still prescribe yourself some medication? I think you need it. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Typical of DonRonty, whenever a point is made that he doesnt agree with, he will obscure things by going on a personal attack (hmm, where have we heard that one before?!). Distorting established facts and making things up is all part of DonRonty MO. It’s ok Don, I know it’s just how you like to roll. ๐Ÿ™‚

          I remember vividly having a discussion with DonRonty about McIlrath…way back in the beginning. I was impressed that he was able to see, based solely on an interview, that the kid had poise and there was something special about him that would make for a very effective NHL player. I was skeptical but am always fascinated at people’s abilities, I figured, what the heck. Let’s see if he’s right.

          Well, we all know how the McIlrath thing worked out. And now our prescient genius repeats the nonsense that I’m Mythdoc (knowing full well that there is no way I can prove it one way or another). Oh well, I guess I should be honored, since Myth is a good blogger! (Oops, shouldn’t say that…I’d be patting “myself” on the back!)

          So while I can’t prove it to DonRonty, at least there’s one thing I got out of DonRonty’s nonsense. I now know that he’s zero for two on his “prescient speculations”. And as a reporter that deals with facts, I now know he’s not a reliable source and therefore I won’t take any further analysis seriously from him without facts (which he seems to be allergic to) to back them up.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        John-

        Your point is valid, but the points mentioned above by Mythdoc (who despite rumors is NOT me! :), all stated accurate facts which shows this team under this coach has thrived.

        We are on pace for 106 points. That would make three straight 100+ point seasons, truly a Golden Age for Rangers hockey by any historical measure. This has been done with only ONE true star and future HOFer (and on that I know you and I agree) in Hank. It is being done this year with a highly suspect defense, significant man power games lost to injury, an explosive but yet extremely inconsistent offense, and goaltending that, while you and I know Hank is great, I think we can admit that he hasn’t been stellar nearly enough of the time this year.

        Add to that that the Metro is now a beast division, we are integrating more youth into the lineup than ever before, and that most pundits had us as a borderline playoff team at best, and this season has been a remarkable success thus far.

        As for the playoffs? Who knows? That’s always a crap shoot. We could easily get bounced in the first round or go as far as the ECF. Whatever happens, it will be more about what the players do than what the coach does (or fails to do).

        • Rich S says:

          EEE you make it too easy,
          Three seasons in a row 100 plus points, a presidents trophy both with the rangers and the canucks, yet NO CUPS?????
          Out-coached by Julien of briuns and sutter of kings in finals!!!
          AV is a one trick pony, makes ZERO in game adjustments , never waivers from his strategy even if he is losing!
          A good regular season coach, maybe very good, but a lousy playoff coach. You gave the reason why.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            And Rich, you are far too black and white.

            How can he be a lousy playoff coach when he’s won five playoff series in three seasons as Rangers coach. More than Torts’s three in five Springs. As many as Emile Francis in 10 springs?

            If he doesnt make any adjustments, how did he rally back vs the Pens in 2014 vs a SC winner in Bylsma? How did he rally back in 2015 vs the lethal Caps? Two years in a row the team came back. Unprecedented in NHL history.

            So are you saying that he was outcoached in those two series and the ones he lost, but he outcoached his opponent in the ones he won? Very simplistic way of looking at it if you ask me. I do think the players MAYBE had something to do with the success and the failure, don’t you think? Maybe just a little? ๐Ÿ™‚

            So he’s hasn’t won a Cup. Lots of great coaches haven’t won a Championship. Means nothing.

            So by this logic, if you’ve never won a Richard Trophy, even if you’ve scored a lot of goals, than you’re not a great goal scorer?

            • Reenavipul says:

              Eventually AV makes the right decision after exhausting all other options.

              Like I’ve mentioned repeatedly, a great coach adds 10-15% to the assembled squad, a lousy coach takes away 30%. AV IMO is costing the team 10% of their potential(would love to see how xGF/xGA compares). Why is that?

              What does a coach do?

              1: Manages his own team. Offense, defense, the squad dynamics. Fine at the 1st, but doesn’t adapt well. Can’t assess his D at all, which is weird for an NHL D alum. Eventually changed D philosophy to suit talent available. Abdicates on the third, for better or worse.

              2: Manages the opponent: tactics, matchups, adjustments. Not AV’s strong suit. No in game adjustments beyond shortening the bench, no in series adjustments beyond giving Fast more minutes to squander.

              3: Manages the schedule. This is the section where AV is almost an abject failure. Players rarely get maintainence days, random bag skates, the handling of Girardi, Klein, Clendo & McIlrath(going back) illustrate he has almost no idea of what to do in this department.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                If all these things you said were actually true, this team would be a perrenial bottom feeder. I doubt seriously that anyone in a decision making capacity in NHL front offices would agree.

                Does he have strengths and weaknesses? Sure. Are there areas that can and should be second guessed? No more or less than any other top tier NHL head coach. and make no mistake….like him or not, he IS perceived as a top tier NHL head coach.

                Your last point in particular is really hard to even take seriously, since the team’s record in back to black games over many years is sensational.

              • Reenavipul says:

                B2B games are always a function of road trips, which the Rangers have been demonstrably good at in comparison to at home.

                I’m not going to bother to nitpick about those functions(others have made arguments about not having the last change is doing the team favors) but I specifically limited my complaints to:
                1: how one gives older players enough time to recover.
                2: How one utilizes a roster to supplement the 1st point.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Why are back to back games a functional road trips? They invariably have a road game involved, that’s true, but often the second game is a home game.

                I know we often disagree but you clearly know your stuff. So this is meant more as an inquiry than anything else. Do you think that AV is unique in this regard (r&r for older players)? You see more games league wide than I do. From what I’ve seen, most coaches do NOT use their 7D or their 13F all that much. As it is, McIlrath got into 30+ games last year. Clendening has played in 28 thus far. It seems to me AV DOES play these guys. And don’t NHL players, even vets, need to play a lost to stay sharp? How many games as Jagr sat out this year? Any?

                Can you cite some examples of NHL coaches that are doing what you are suggesting,,,which is to limit older starters to roughly 50-60 games? I’m not aware of any.

            • Rich S says:

              The fact that the rangers and canuks won presidents trophys prove they had excellent teams……..the fact that AV has brought at least 4 teams into the playoffs with the best or second best personnel and has never won it all, indicates to me he cant figure out how to get his teams over the hump!
              Insanity, av thinking a non physical team can win a cup!!!!!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Since the inception of the President’s trophy in 1986, the winner of that trophy has won the Stanley Cup a grand total of eight times. EIGHT! That means 75% of the time, the best team FAILS to go all the way. You are making this into an “AV thing” when it’s pretty common place. The playoffs are a crap shoot in the NHL.

                Non-physical teams winning the Cup???? Hawks…Pens. Hardly teams that scare anyone physically. But they DO scare everyone because of their ELITE future HOF talent, something we don’t have other than Hank.

        • Walt says:

          E3

          Not to diminish the fact that 100+ points a season isn’t an accomplishment, but come on now, these numbers are inflated. Let’s go back to games ending in ties, instead of OT, and SO’s, then see how many teams get 100+ point seasons.

          You’re smart enough to figure this out, the NHL wants to make it appear that every team is in contention, and by having these OT’s, and SO’s, well teams get awarded points, so that their fan base will continue to fill the seats, eat, and drink at the concession stands, and buy team jerseys.

          How many teams will get 100+ points this year??? Hell, our Metro division will have at least four, when in the history of the NHL did that happen? Just my two cents on the subject……..

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Totally fair and I agree…that currency ain’t what it used to be.

            But the counter to that argument is that there are few awful teams to feast on anymore. There was no parity back in the day. Today, beyond lets say the awful Coyotes and Avs, there are few bad teams. So every game is a war. And with a hard cap, keeping good teams together is impossible. So there’s more turnover on the roster to deal with.

            And, even with OT and SO, show me how many teams have three straight 100+ point seasons in recent years. It’s not exactly easy to do.

            It may not be what it used to be, but its hardly meaningless and still is a benchmark of a succesful season.

  2. amy says:

    it is good to see the rookies scoring hopefully the winning at the garden will start soon

  3. lucky wilbert says:

    I’m following this Blog since 3 or 4 years.I’m located in Germany ,been and still be a hockey player in Amateur leagues here in Germany . There 2 or 3 names which appear all the time in a very negative way , sometimes even in a very insulting way. Glass and Girardi. I’m also a guy who like to see the very skilled player on the ice. But I know also thats you still need muscle in tough games. I’ve seen the rangers got pushed around from other more phisycal teams a lot . Sometimes they look helpless . And I also watch Tanner when he is on ice. In my opinion he is not big goal scorer or a very skilled player but he is a good skater , still very fast and goes after the other players in terms of forechecking and hitting. And when he get the puck he tries to do the next logical thing and he often passes the puck directly to a free man . For sure a Pavel Buchnevich is a more skilled player but so far he dont show that enough. most of the time he is skating around with no big impact to the game . he is young and he will improve (hopefully) but in a play off game on a very intense level he will not hold his ground . Tanner will. Dont get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Goons and senseless fights and old time shit. really not. But since Tanner is back the team plays with more grit and will. there is no doubt. what do you think why teams as montreal got guys like Steve Ott for the play off. they know in tight games that could be the difference . The Rangers seems a very soft team for me sometimes and other teams are taking advantage of this often. I also dont think that Tanner will be a key factor ,but you need a player like him . And he is not such a talentless idiot as some people say.

    • Joe S. says:

      Thumbs Up!!

    • Mark says:

      Very well said. And I couldnt agree more. Love Pavel, but defensively and without the puck he is a liability. Tanner (although not flashy at all) will not hurt you defensively and provide the grit needed in a playoff game. Besides as soon as there is an injury to a forward they will probably both be in the lineup anyway. Both Tanner and Pavel deserve to play ahead of Puempel and Pirri.

    • Blue76 says:

      Like , thumbs up, very good breakdown of Tanner, finally his speed and hockey sense is acknowledged…

    • Rangers_Underscore says:

      lucky wilbert
      If there is going to be a 1 to 0 game who do you want on the ice? Glass or Butch? In a shoot out who do you want?
      I think what you want is a mascot.
      Winners want the best not a checker who tries so hard but gets nothing done.
      When Glass is on your line you are almost assured you line will not score. Do you not like math and statics?
      Math states Glass is piss poor. Why do you think its otherwise? where is your math?
      By the way I love wiener schnitzels.

      • Blue76 says:

        Actually I am a Math teacher … check Tanners points per game since the call up … and not sure I’ve ever had a wiener schnitzel … and I try to avoid “static” by using static sheets in the dryer …

        • John B says:

          Not going to even entertain a 62 minute sample size.

          Career:

          Goals per game- 0.05
          Assists per game- 0.09
          Points per game- 0.14
          On ice for a total of 123 GF
          On ine for a total of 231 GA
          Using paulrontys favorite x+/- stat, he’s a career -11.5

          Yes, Glass can skate. However, Glass is one of if not the worst hockey player in the NHL.

    • Rich S says:

      As a former player myself [as a kid, not near your level] I realized that the physical nature of the game, albeit changed from years ago, still has a Hugh impact on the outcome. It seems that many of the ‘pacifist’s here cannot grasp this fact about the nature of the game.
      And in my opinion , neither can the coach. Winning in the playoffs , even after excelling in the regular season requires having some physical players in the lineup.
      Not surprising that we do poorly against teams with a physical edge…montreal, washington, pittsburgh, columbus and the islanders…..that we cannot match!!!!!

      • Walt says:

        Rich

        To your point on physicality, it will be proved again, in a few weeks when we get shown the friggin door out of the PO’s……We heard all season long that the game has changed, to the better. It’s more exciting to watch, the speed, the whole package is wonderful, that’s why we all are fans of this sport. Come PO time, the entire NHL reverts to a tighter checking, harder hitting, board battles, and the stronger teams will rule again this season. Critics will jump on this post, all I can say is wait and see!!!!!!!!!!! Prediction Columbus will win the cup, and the Tort’s critics will eat crow………

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Walt, why will Torts’ critics eat crow if he wins it all? What does his work in Columbus have to do with his work in NY?

          If the Rangers don’t win, I’m all in for Torts. Why not? He flamed out in NY and Vancouver. He deserved to be criticized and fired both times. But people evolve and change. He took stock and realized some adjustments needed to happen. He’s done that it seems. That’s something to celebrate not “eat crow” about.

          I’m willing to eat crow on my Girardi prediction. I never said Torts would never win again. I said that he, like Keenan, would have trouble getting hired if he didnt change. He has and he’s getting it done in Columbus.

          As for the playoffs, that Metro is going to be a beast, and Torts hasn’t had much playoff success since 2004. He’s been pretty mediocre in post-season since.

          But that doesn’t mean he wont do exactly what you predict…i just wont be dining on this serving. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Walt says:

            E3

            If the shoe fits, well it fits. There are plenty who have been critical of the man, so be it, I’m pulling for him!!!!!! BTW it wasn’t directed your way this time, when it is, I usually say so by indicating it by typing E3 first……

        • Rich S says:

          I would love to see that happen, torts and dubinsky, two tough guys ……
          Dubi is still pissed off about being traded…..I hated to see him go I was hoping they would take stepan instead…..
          Boy would his presence help our present team….

        • Reenavipul says:

          In the game against the Wild where Suter took the puck off of Fast like he wasn’t even there is one of those things where I feel Boo would be a better fit for the team as is fortgat role.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Strength and skills would be nice in the same player, but we cannot morph the two into Marchant in a Ranger jersey. We have to choose. Some nights, TG provides the spark thru a hit and his hustle. Some nights it’s the skill of Buch. A nice balance is AVs job

  5. paulronty says:

    Absolutely skill & ability are factors in hockey, but there are so many variables that contribute to a Championship squad. All guys who make it to the NHL have skills, to varying degrees, some are elite , some very good & some average. It is still a body contact game, so that if you field a bunch of skilled guys, who have little to no physical presence, you are not going to win necessarily. Many times in sports & life we see a guy with great work ethic & drive outperform a more skilled person who doesn’t have that drive to do what it takes. Kyle Wellwood, who played here, was a perfect example of that. He didn’t work out, he didn’t think it was necessary, because, some called him the Wayne Gretzky of the OHL. That guy had tremendous skills, but a mediocre career. I know because my dentist was his billet & would just shake his head in dismay discussing his attitude. A team also needs great coaching to suceed(which is why the best team doesn’t always win) but beyond that & most important they need team chemistry, the desire to put team before self. If you read the book Messier, you understand that in 94, he & Keenan had every player on the team rally to that principle, even the Black Aces.