Apr
17

Thoughts (Rants?) following Game Three’s disgusting loss

April 17, 2017, by
brady skjei henrik lundqvist

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

Last night’s loss was the worst playoff game the Rangers have played at home in quite some time. I put this as worse than any game against Pittsburgh last year, and even worse than the Tampa games in 2015. Why, you ask? Simple: Tampa and Pittsburgh were good, deep teams. Montreal is not good and is not deep. They have top-end talent, but their depth is terrible. The Rangers should at least be generating chances, which they are not. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. I know I spend a lot of time harping on the defense, but every forward not named Rick Nash should be ashamed of themselves. You know what. I’ll even throw Tanner Glass into that mix as well. He was better than expected. But you’re telling me that this group of forwards, against that awful back line, couldn’t generate any scoring chances? Carey Price could have taken a nap in net and probably would have only allowed the one goal. There was no forecheck. No controlled zone entries. Missed passes by a mile. Missed fundamental plays. Lazy shots. No driving to the net. Nothing. That’s inexcusable.

2. The defense should also be ashamed of themselves. Blown coverages, chasing to the blue line, allowing Royal Road passes, hanging their goalie out to dry. Just terrible. Plus, they can’t even connect on a breakout pass. The funny thing is that we knew all this heading into the season. It’s just maddening to see the same process over and over again with no change, ending with the same result. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

3. Speaking of insanity, let’s focus on Alain Vigneault. This is the third straight year that the counterattacking style didn’t work in the playoffs. The stretch passes out of the zone don’t work against teams clogging the neutral zone and blue line. It’s time to adjust. Against a team like Montreal that is playing very passive, short and quick passes out of the defensive zone to help gain speed are a must. After that you have two men with speed with the puck carrier to gain the red line, then dump in. The two guys with speed –based on Montreal’s defensive positioning– will get in before the defense to retain possession. From what I saw last night, Montreal’s last two men are between the blue line and the top of the circle. Most of the Rangers’ roster will get to the puck first, as long as they get in with speed. The Rangers are skilled enough that once they gain the zone, they should be able to cycle and get chances, assuming they are fundamentally sound. Based on point #1, they are not.

4. It’s also time for AV to adjust with his lineup decisions. It’s very clear that the Rangers are not generating any scoring chances. This has nothing to do with Carey Price. This is on the guys on the ice. But it’s also time that AV puts his best offensive players out there. It comes with a risk of even crappier defensive play, but can it really get any worse? Perhaps, just maybe, putting Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Clendening in the lineup to help generate offense has an impact on both ends of the ice? Keeping the zone and generate shots and chances prevents Montreal from generating their own. It seriously can’t get any worse, so what else does AV have to lose? This isn’t a one game phenomenon either. It’s been all series.

5. There was a lot of complaining about the noise level at MSG last night. I vehemently disagree with those saying that the fans that can afford these tickets aren’t real fans. However there are a lot more corporate dollars spent on the lower levels nowadays, especially with those box seats in the 100’s. So perhaps there is a correlation there. But let’s be real here. Was there much to cheer last night? This has nothing to do with the score. The Rangers played like they didn’t want to be there. It was an uninspiring effort. I can’t afford to go to these games, but even if I were gifted seats, it would have been tough for me –without liquid courage– to been alive and rowdy and loud.

6. I’m incredibly frustrated with this team, but the performance is not a surprise to me. There’s a reason why a lot of folks were critiquing wins all year. The process was flawed. And the best teams in the league will exploit it. Going back to point #3, the counterattacking style is easily managed by good coaches. There needs to be depth and variety to the style of play. Counterattacking when you can, but also generating shots (Corsi%) and chances (Scoring Chances%). It’s not just one of the three. Heck, it’s not even all three of these three. There are so many variables in hockey. But we do know that CF% and SCF% do indicate good process. The Rangers have the skill to score. They lack the process. That’s on the coach.

7. Also on the coach is his terrible in-game deployment. Sure, the end-game stats show that McDonagh, Skjei, and Smith led in ice time among defenders. But Marc Staal was the leader through two periods. It’s simple. For the Rangers to stand a chance, that first trio needs to lead in ice time. Then Staal. Then pray. Because none of the other options should be playing right now.

8. We don’t deserve Henrik Lundqvist.

"Thoughts (Rants?) following Game Three's disgusting loss", 4 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
Categories : Playoffs

152 comments

  1. 43 says:

    I think it’s absurd that we’re heading into game 4 and Buch and Clendo haven’t suited up, yet. Shoot, at this point, put Pirri in.

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    It’s called adjustments. The Canadians did that. They cut off our passes and stood in the passing lanes to catch those stupid passes.

  3. Jerry says:

    Dave.
    GREAT post. Right on the money.
    I will slightly disagree with you on one point. Lindberg & Fast should be lumped in there with Hank, Nash and Glass.

    AV’s team built exactly the way HE wanted. Made for the regular season, but NOT for the post season.

    Blame is very wide spread but needs to start with AV.

  4. Reenavipul says:

    McDonagh had 19 shifts through two periods.

    Staal had 22.

    Obviously the players just aren’t executing.

  5. pas44 says:

    Hard to read Dave, you’re 100% correct, just hard to read!

    This is the worst Monday ever.
    Go down with some fight, leave it out there, be a team…

    there’s something up… the locker room, the process, the game plan…. something…

    IMO it’s something a coaching change can remedy…

  6. Peter says:

    I don’t buy the deployment and adjustments argument. Watching the game I was amazed by the lack of urgency and the apparent unwillingness to leave it all out there on the rink. It was a poor effort by the players, period.

    • pas44 says:

      but Pete, coaches get played to bring the players to those levels, to motivate, at this level they have skills, they need process and sometimes, a lot of times they need coaches to get them to their best and many time this means in their heads too…

      • Peter says:

        I don’t disagree with you really, but, there was something else missing from the effort. There were no all-out efforts along the boards. There were no breakneck dives to break up passes or steal the puck. There was not nearly enough making life miserable and crowded for Price. The passion to win was not evident. There are a lot of guys on the team that have been to the playoffs before. They should be leading by example out there on the ice. The coach can only do so much regarding effort and motivation.

  7. joe cafardo says:

    I am telling you….when AV had arguably the best roster in Hockey he blew it in Vancouver. Julien is just out coaching him again as he did with Boston. Watch Montreal….a team with average speed but terrific system of D. Defensemen stay within the dots in the defensive zone. If one defenseman attacks the puck in the corner, he awaits support from a forward while his partner covers the front of the net and anticipates a weak-side clear. Forwards backcheck hard, collapse in the slot, and support the defensemen. The forwards serve as ushers. They steer puck carriers into trouble. The defensemen spring the trap by separating pucks from bodies. This is why the Rangers can’t clear and start the attack. And AV has no in game adjustments.
    I can’t stand this guy and to think we re upped him for 3 more years.

  8. amy says:

    this rangers team played so bad people were leaving before the game was over it is time for a response tomorrow night which means put the lines back to where they were and hit them every chance you get and get bodies in front of price

    • Jack says:

      Who cares? In the hockey world, nobody really respects the MSG crowd, I’m sorry if you’re apart of that but there are articles ever other year pointing to how lame that the NYR crowd is like. This team has had the most playoff action since 2012 and every year it’s the same lame ducks in the crowd.

      • pas44 says:

        amen brother, i for one just can not afford to see games. its out of touch with realty paying the bills on LI and then shelling out buuuuukuuuu MSG demands…

  9. Andres says:

    Great post dave!

    AV needs to go period. As great as a coach as he is, his inability to adjust has now been on display for 3 straight playoffs. I DONT CARE about the regular season, as it has been noted that this team has overachieved.

    As for the fans in the building…..again I dont buy the crap that the team didnt have any energy so the fans should be excused. This is the PLAYOFFS in the worlds most famous arena in the best city in the world…yet I could have put my baby to sleep in there. Thats terrible, and if fact this has been ongoing for awhile. Every other playoff team arena is 10x louder than MSG, fans waving towels, just being loud in general. The series was 1-1 when that game started there was no reason for it to be that quiet period.

    Buch and Clendo in would be a great start. maybe free beer for the fans to get some liquid courage to make some noise. It aint over till its over so LGR!!!

  10. Anthony DiMichele says:

    Dont Blame the Kid Holden , PLEASE SIT STALL , I believe that he is not 20/20 in his vision. Who ever plays with him knows that and they overplay to compensate for him. It has gotten so bad cannot hit net 10 feet out. Defense cone out there. Yet Alan or bukaboom calling shots on defense.How in the world di Skie and smith , with the way stall played -3 that game. is Alan Blind Too.

    • Chris says:

      not sure how much of a kid Holden is…30 nest month if I read right – he has made some horrific def errors as we know, AV was hoping for off from him to make up for it, usually not a good way to go on D (Burns/Karlesson being exceptions). It is a certainty Stall is at least legally blind in his right eye but they obv can’t acknowledge it or he’s done now, he’s going to be done soon anyway because of it. AV is obv avoiding this (taking care of his boys) until they’re bought out/retire since no one else is going to take them

    • Dave says:

      Holden is not a kid. He’s 30 next month.

      • Jack says:

        30 next month and he sucks. If his only role is to play in the top 4 on either his offside or next to Staal then no thanks.

  11. Chris says:

    I get it, you’re saying AV needs to change “Prough-cess”!!!!!!

    • Chris says:

      Sorry my French-Canadian english is bad ” all aboot changing THE Proughcess!!” – just wanted to clear that up

  12. Ralphie Boy says:

    The Garden crowd stunk last night. I don’t want to hear the excuse that they had nothing to cheer about. You’re supposed to be loud right from the start and they weren’t. I watch all the playoff games and nobody is sitting in these other arenas. Sure, every arena gets quiet after a goal is given up but then that passes and everyone is right back on their feet getting ready to motivate the team again. Last night was disgusting all around, from the crowd to the level of play.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Crowd is irrelevant. The problem is that the coach is playing matchups with the last change and it’s detrimental to the team. Roll your lines force your opponent to adjust to you.

      Outhinking his way to the golf course(or hopefully the unemployment line.)

  13. Ray says:

    Maybe only Point 8 is relevant. The Rangers don’t deserve Lundqvist. The players know this, they know it so totally that playing the games is utterly pointless. Even if they win the Cup (and of course they can’t), it would be meaningless, just a bunch of losers carried on Hank’s back.

    A good coach plays Raanta in Game 4. Maybe he isn’t as good, but it changes the dynamic. It isn’t about who has the most impressive tender. The Pens won last year and many were unimpressed by Murray. Talbot has nearly effortless shutouts in his last two games.

    Or you can try Clendening and see how he fares mentally when he makes his first miscue and Hank glares at him.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      The Rangers are undefeated as a franchise with Skapski in net. That doesn’t mean he should get the nod tomorrow night.

      • Ray says:

        Oh come on. Skapski played two games against Buffalo and that was before he got hurt. Nowadays he isn’t even a decent NHL goaltender. OTOH, absent the Raanta option, I might go with Hellberg. He is almost certainly not Lundqvist’s equal, but it does change the dynamic and he is at least close to NHL level.

        Raanta, OTOH, is a real tender. He has outperformed Hank while in NY over a non-trivial number of games. Is he better than Hank? Maybe not, but the numbers advantage is highly inconsistent with the premise that Hank is much the better goalie.

        The situation is really rather simple. The current dynamic is “Can Hank play well enough to guide this pitiful team past Montreal?” and that is a losing dynamic. IMO, the only way to restore to restore team self-respect is to see what the team can do when not carried by Hank – and you can’t do that with Hank in net.

        Of course, hank has started a lot of playoff games in a row and I suspect in the view of most people here, that streak is a lot more important than rolling the dice to get to round two.

        Consider: Mats Zuccarello gives his all and likely will never win anything. Lundqvist, OTOH, has an Olympic gold medal and likely entry into the HOF. Yet we feel bad that Hank won’t get his name on the Cup.

        Incidentally, I never said who AV should start in Game 5.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          I was being slightly tongue in cheek with the Skapski comment…. but was trying to make a point. Lundqvist is hands down our best goalie. Currently he is playing like our best goalie. If Hank was struggling, sure, start another goalie. In 2015 Crawford struggled in round 1, so the Hawks turned to Darling who got them out of the first round. They then went back to Crawford and won the Cup. If Hank was letting in weak goals and playing like he was in December, then absolutely star Raanta. But we can all agree that Hank has been far from the problem. He is playing lights out and I do not buy that this team would come to life if Raanta had the crease.

          • Ray says:

            Stop – Among goaltenders who have played for the Rangers and played 30 games this year, Hank had the fourth best GAA and save percentage. He might be the best Ranger tender, but the notion that he is hands down the best is absurd. And while the Game 3 loss was a team effort, Lundqvist did not play well in that game.

            BUT that is not my point. Raanta may be better, may be worse, I don’t know, but I do know that he changes the dynamic. It may seem obvious that you play a great goalie who will win the Cup unless his team sucks behind him ahead of a so-so goalie who only hopefully won’t blow it if the team is good enough to win by themselves. But we have ample evidence that the first course won’t work – and I suspect frankly that the team has tired of playing in Lundqvist’s shadow – and is tired of dealing with him.

            Fact is, this series is about Lundqvist and for the most part, framed that way, many of the Ranger skaters just don’t care.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I have no words to describe what you just wrote. Just stunning.

              This team has a bunch of overrated passengers on the bus that aren’t as good as some make them out to be. The only reason we are even in this series is because of Hank. He has been SENSATIONAL.

              Brooks said it perfectly in today’s Post, after taking the team to the task–

              “The lone exception being Henrik Lundqvist, now in his 12th seasons of masking the team’s deficiencies.”

              Totally right. What does Hank have to do???? Pitch a shutout every game while this team of overrated “stars” struggle to get anything resembling an offensive attack going?

              Look, I get it. You think this guy is overrated and will say anything to try and justify your point–even after three BRILLIANT games. It’s your MO.

              Good news is, there isn’t a head coach anywhere in the world that would sit Hank after the three games he played to play Raanta–unless that coach had gone off the deep end. Probably the craziest suggestion I’ve ever heard.

              • Ray says:

                Okay, let’s consider a hypothetical. The Rangers hate Lundqvist. They are about to play a pretty good high school hockey team. AV has a choice between Lundqvist and you – who should he play to guarantee victory?

                It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? With you in net, the Rangers surely get more goals than the high schoolers get shots. But maybe with hank in net, they are happy to see him hung out to dry.

                ******************

                OK, that’s an exaggeration, but the reality is almost the same. For whatever reason, the Ranger skaters appear fine with Raanta in goal and inadequate with Lundqvist in goal. Four choices

                A. Lundqist with Lundqvist skaters
                B. Lundqvist with Raanta skaters
                C. Raanta with Lundqvist skaters
                D. Raanta with Raanta skaters.

                Everyone picks B, but it’s really a trick question. There is only A and D.

                If Matt Murray, whom you consider inferior to Hank, can win a Cup with better skaters than Hank has, why can’t Antti Raanta also win with better skaters than Hank can muster?

              • Ray says:

                If this is the craziest suggestion you have ever heard, you have led a very sheltered life.

              • Hockey Sittoo says:

                Fricking nonsense. Don’t even try

              • Rich S says:

                3E
                You found the ‘words’ pretty quickly!!!!

        • Hockey Sittoo says:

          What a joke

    • Jack says:

      You can pull that BS to wake up guys like Kopitar, Toews and Kane. Doing that with Stepan as your 1c, Girardi in your top pair and Kreids who thinks he’s a skilled finesse player is a disaster in the making.

    • pas44 says:

      Henrik Starts Game 4.

      How out of left field can you be man!

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

      You looking to get shot Ray …. lol … mix things up isn’t what this coach does … he play Lundqvist the whole way and wont even adjust his belt buckle …. I would put Raanta in … everyone even says they play different in front of the other goalie !

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        You would…I have no doubt. A REAL NHL coach would not.

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

          well the real one we have isn’t doing to good a job … lmao

          • Hockey Sittoo says:

            Laugh away Sieveqvist. But you know as well as anyone that Hank is the only reason Games 2 and 3 were close. You just won’t admit it because it screws your narrative.

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

              We won’t ever find out cause he’ll play the next two games

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                That’s right. Because you see, in the normal world where common sense tends to prevail, a future HOF goaltender who’s been mostly brilliant in these three games would get to start the next two games–and that call would be made by any and every NHL head coach.

                Only in some bizarre alternate universe would a coach decide now to go to a career back-up. Or, a coach that basically is saying-“Fire me!”

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

                that’s also why I said in 5 😉

    • Rich S says:

      Ray,
      This isn’t the worst idea I have ever heard. At THIS point something needs to be done , NOT because lunquist hasn’t been great, he has BUT the team needs a wake up call and maybe they rally around Raanta and win and then you have a fresh hank for game 5 at montreal…..and raanta back at the garden for game 6…..wishfully with the rangers up 3 games to 2…

      I also like benching stepan for buch, not glass, he hasnt been half as bad as some of the other forwards…..

      I have been calling to reunite the kred/zib/buch line for months now….what took so long? Keep the 4 th line intact, just give it more minutes!!!!! Lots more!!!! Vesey, fast, lindberg, smith playing well!!!

      how about line of nash, vesey, zucc….best 3 forwards so far!

      switch miller to center with grabs and hayes…..

      desperate times call for desperate measures…….

      So, as to not absolve gorton or sather…..we traded centers dubinsky, anisimov, boyle , brassard and KEPT stepan??????
      Gorton giving AV an extension is crazier than playing raanta for hank!!!!!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Hilarious….but in your mythical lineup…your “beastie boy” Miller would play, as would your other untouchables Hayes and Kreider, who have been awful.

        Incredible!

        • Rich S says:

          3E

          You would rather do nothing, try nothing and have this team just fade into oblivion????

          What have you seen from this team [incl-my untouchables] that makes you think next game they will suddenly become the late 1980 oilers?????

          Remember the definition of insanity–to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result!!!!

          I am guessing/hoping kreider is hurt , his play is god awful as is hayes and stepan and holden and stall and zib..!!!!!

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            There is no move that they can make to become the 1980s Oilers. Heck, I’m not sure these overrated stars of yours are good enough to be better than the 1980s Rangers!

            My point is, why is this all on Stepan? Why do you assume Kreider is hurt when he hasn’t done jack in quite some time. Why not bench Hayes? Why is your “beast” Miller exempt from criticism?

            The problem is, you can make a case to bench any forward with the exception of Nash.

            Stepan is just one of many issues here. Butt he’s still your alternate captain and one of the team’s leading scorers. You aren’t likely to get improved performances out of the group by making an example out of Step.

  14. SalMerc says:

    The coach can’t make players go into the corners and dig harder for pucks. Can’t turn Kreider into Gallagher IF they don’t want to go there.

    He CAN make adjustment IF the players are smart enough and talented enough to adjust. Did the changes he make to the lines do ANYTHING in the third? Not really. I think he has lost the lockeroom and there isn’t a voice in there loud and dominant enough to be listened to.

    Zucc is the only one who plays with emotion, and it only gets him put in the penalty box. The adjustments they make are comical, but is that because of their personnel or their coach? Or both? Either way, a win tomorrow and we are all even and things change yet again. Holden back in for Klein, Buch in for Glass and let’s see what happens. Spring may come early for the NYR, but we need to treat 4/18 like it is game 7, as it might just be our game 7.

    Nash needs some help. Look for him and Vesey to play together tomorrow. Move Stepan down with Grabner and Fast. They are down, but not out.

    • Jack says:

      Hayes between JT and Zucc
      Mika between Kreider and Buch
      Oscar between Nash and Vesey
      Pirri between Grabner and Fast
      Scratched: Stepan and Glass even though he has more goals then our 6.5 center.

      • jerry maley says:

        Stephan should be scratched for sure. JUST EFFING AWFUL…

        • Brad says:

          Stepan and Hayes should sit. There is no urgency withing this team. It truly is disgusting, and very hard to watch

  15. Chris F says:

    There was nothing to cheer for? THERE WAS NOTHING TO CHEER FOR?

    It’s the f#@$%ing playoffs, and your team comes back 1-1 for their home opening game, and you sit their sulking because they haven’t been good at home lately?

    Outrageous. There is no excuse in the world for why that building was so quiet. Our fan base is petty and entitled and they embarrassed themselves last night in front of the whole league.

    • pas44 says:

      I turned the game off, why bother, they weren’t playing so I tuned them out.

      If I paid $$ to see the game live, I would;t be cheering and screaming at this game, I would be drinking and eating and being upset, looking at the possibility of an early train ride home

      whats really the difference being at the game or at home, I yelled a few times but the game sucked… being there would;t have made me yell or scream all that much more, would have sucked more … but not make be louder…

    • Jack says:

      Bro city kids don’t play hockey in NY state, at least not down state. I’ve basically lived there during the summer months due to relatives, no kids owned a pair of roller-skates or a plastic puck and considering there were more whites then any other race most often. Those are the type of people who grow older and then fill the seats of MSG. I’ve said it before that hockey in the states is a spectator sport and especially in NY.

      • pas44 says:

        So your saying, city folks just don’t have that passion like ya’ll do up there…

        you sound credible…

        now go get your shine box, take a walk hillbilly…

        the game wasn’t worth it… but I guess your right, what would a city clicker know about passion.

      • Chris F says:

        I’m from Brooklyn, and there are a bunch of ice and roller leagues, and several outdoor parks with rinks that have pick up games every weekend that are full up. Brooklyn Bridge Park just added a league to their rink this past year, and Long Island is chock-full-o spring and summer leagues and lots of street hockey in the suburbs.

        You’re wrong, Jack.

  16. James says:

    The Rangers don’t play with any emotion or energy on home ice…its that simple. Everything else is window dressing

  17. NYRfaninDC says:

    The power-play is atrocious. They need to figure out a new zone entry, because the “four guys stand still at the blue line while one guy skates it in” approach is clearly not working. Once they establish posession in the zone, they’re actually getting decent looks, even if they still have a tendency to pass one-too-many times.

    Fourth line played great in Games 2 and 3. They started a ton of defensive zone shifts, and did an really good job to transition the play down the ice, and get an offensive zone faceoff. Couldn’t ask for more.

    If our defense played better and could make those outlet passes, then we could start to send Kreider (or Grabner) flying out of the zone for the “Kreider play” (indirect stretch pass). That would at least keep the Montreal D on their heels a bit more, and open up more ice in the neutral zone.

  18. Chris F says:

    In order of magnitude, here’s where the blame lies:

    1) Centers. With the exception of Lindberg, our centers aren’t doing anything. Stepan and Zibanejad haven’t played with any fire, and Stepan and Hayes can’t win any draws. No one down the middle is making plays or giving their wingers options.

    2) Wingers. With the exception of Nash, Zuccarello, Fast, and Glass (and at times Miller), there’s no spark here. They consistently lose board battles, turn over the puck, make dangerous passes, and sit stationary at the blue line waiting for the centers or a speedy defenseman to carry it into the zone. They’re simply not getting open. Kreider and Miller are the ones most needed to turn this around.

    3) Holden. He’s been a disaster.

    4) Fans. They suck. If a tied series coming back to the Garden is not enough reason to cheer, stay the f@#% home.

    5) McDonagh. It’s not that he’s been bad, it’s that he hasn’t been a difference maker. I expect more from him. On defense, by and large he’s making the little plays, but I want to see him play with snarl and get his team fired up, and on offense I want to see him take the puck and generate some rushes likes he’s been known to do. He’s got to be a leader.

    6) AV, while making some adjustments such as sitting Holden, juggling lines, etc needs to do something more drastic at this point. I do believe this is largely a player execution problem, but he could send a message by dressing Buchnevich for someone like Miller or Kreider, as drastic as that might be. He needs to draw up a new game plan at the least and attempt a different strategy.

    7) Gorton. He seems to have conceded this season as a transition period. He needed to do more, either on the blue line or bringing in a game maker forward. Hank’s years are running out.

    8) Defense. Has been better than advertised this series so far. Girardi, Skjei, and Smith have been very physical. McDonagh has been solid, if unremarkable. To a man, they’ve been very effective at clearing pucks from the slot with the exception of those two garbage goals in game 2, as critical as they were. The defense is not the reason we’re in this situation, though Holden was horrible and overall they could do a better job on the boards. Overall, the least of our problems.

    9) Hank. Amazing in games 1 and 2. Solid in game 3. He’s given us a chance. Can’t ask for much more from him, except perhaps a cooler on-ice head. In the locker room,check should fire up the boys, but he needs to check his post-goal emotions.

    • Chris F says:

      I guess I should mention special teams.

      The PP is just a reflection of the ineptitude of the forwards. It falls alongside #1 and #2 above.

      The PK actually hasn’t been as bad as expected. They shut it down games 1 and 2. Game 3 they gave up a couple, one of which was at the tail end of Zuke’s double minor. For 3 and a half minutes they where brilliant before making a mistake that cost them. Did they get the job done? No. But they weren’t lousy by any measure. I’d rank PK somewhere around #6 or #7.

    • Sully 55 says:

      Excellent breakdown

    • Ray says:

      On (7), the team should have their own metric for judging effort – I hope they do. Using that, they should send a message by replacing the worst top nine forward (even if it is Nash) with Buchnevich.

      Defense: Judging by his pattern, AV has a choice between getting 18 minutes out of Holden or Klein or getting 10 minutes out of Kampfer or Clendening and working his five real defensemen harder. Can’t help but notice that Montreal finished Game 2 with five dmen and beat the Rangers with six. The second option may be better even if Clendo and Kampfer are awful. Heck, the Rangers might be better off with me as the sixth defenseman as long as AV wasn’t dumb enough to give me a shift.

    • Hockey Sittoo says:

      Regarding #9 Hank plays with fire and passion and should continue to do so especially because there wasn’t another guy on the ice trying to fire that team up. Valliquette said last night that they needed to get uncomfortable and start calling each other out. He described it as having a “hot stove.” Hank is the only guy who is “hot” and he is trying to light a fire. That needs to continue and some of the other guys, especially the Captain, need to start yelling. These are professional athletes who thrive on competition and, for lack of a better word, testosterone. Hank should keep the heat at its highest setting. If they can’t take it, then get out of the kitchen and play someone who can.

  19. Leatherneck says:

    All you have to do is look at the game against Pittsburgh when Crosby manhandled McDonagh….and he did nothing….to tell you about the culture of this squad….if there was ever a bench clearing brawl moment that was it….and nothing
    So yeah…this team has many issues that starts from coaching to the players and the most important issue is attitude and that solely reflects on the coach.
    AV has to go as do a few other people….I have zero respect for McDonagh, talented as he is….he is a wuss and no wuss should ever be a Captain of any team.
    We have no killer instinct…..been harping on that for how long?
    Glass Menagerie, a facade a fraud….this is what this team is a false illusion. We need to fall to where we can draft high and get a franchise type player…. Buffalo, Toronto and Winnipeg will be better than us soon and Edmonton already is. Talbot pitches a shutout and has 2 wins with a worse defense than ours….just saying to reinforce that it is a culture problem and not drafting high….just saying….I feel everyone’s frustration

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Love everything you said Leather.

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

      that’s the whole problem , they have never really really stunk up the ice like Colorado or the Fiststicks did for a few years and rebuild with high draft picks … they just get over payed guys that played good some where else for a few seasons ….. now he comes Shattenkirk … lol … another 5 year 6-7 mil over paid winger playing D ala Yandle

    • Rich S says:

      When I heard about the pk subban for shea webber I was stunned……
      If I knew subban was on the block i would have offered mcdonagh and more!!!!
      Mcdonagh is a very good player but not the leader or physical force subban is…..
      We need a messier type leader [ even a dubinsky ] or two willing to crash the opponents net and a couple of tough defensemen who can play a little and clear the crease.
      And a coach!!!!!!
      I really liked what mcilrath brought to the team, but he wasnt AV’s type of player…..but lets face it AV holden and klein are better????????

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        He’s not AV’s type of player….Gallant’s type of player…..Rowe’s kind of player, Blashill’s kind of player…..and all 27 other franchises ind of player.

        He is a fine marginal AHL player though.

    • pitp says:

      Thank you for speaking g the truth !!

  20. DAVID k says:

    There is only one person to blame A.V. being out coached by Julien (who knows how to coach playoff style hockey)

    • Walt says:

      David

      To your point, Julian was quoted as say I fix things. There is the crux of the problem, AV can fix his shoe laces, what the f&%k is that clown good for? Squat, and at that I may have to question as well!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Well, he fixed the mess that Tort’s left and led them to the Cup Finals. So i think he knows how to fix things.

        The roster isn’t good enough. Gorton has to do the fixing here.

        • Walt says:

          E3

          He is still fixing it isn’t he? Great display of that last night, and for the last six consecutive periods of hockey!!!!!!!!!

      • Sammy says:

        Walt your the clown. But I know that you know better. And again I say that nobody said he’s perfect or great but you just blame him for anything and everything. But you got the answers. Next time your bowels are in an uproar, go shit in your hat

        • Walt says:

          Hey scumbag, you want to start something with me have at it, I’ll come at you like stink on shit. That’ twice tonight, and I was trying to be nice to a half witted schmuck. You’re defending a prick who isn’t worth the spit I let go in the morning. As for you, well you’re starting to fall in that same catagory, you Do-uches bag!!!!!!!!

  21. Inferno says:

    Dave…if you saw this coming, why were you against trading Grabner? I saw this coming and wanted this team to maximize its assets. Trade Grabner…too late now.

  22. avsucks says:

    i hope they show up next game. where were they last night holy crap that was bad.
    feel bad for hank. 4th line played great. the other 3 well you saw it.

  23. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Great post Dave. Management should have gotten rid of the old core at the end of last year. Buy outs should have happened of G or Staal or both. I don’t want to hear about the cap hit numbers. You have to bite the bullet and own the fact that these player are done. The space is need for two better Dmen not holding on for the sake of cap money. Bad contracts now you have to own it. They came close but didn’t win the cup. Move on

    Stepan has to be traded before the draft at the draft or exposed for LV to draft. There’s a lack of a strong presence and voice in that locker room. To many nice guys who play uninspired hockey and it’s the old core. Stepan, G, Staal and McD who gets in nobody’s face and doesn’t seem to hold anybody accountable. He’s a good player seems like a good guy but not a captain. I’m tried of the snow angels, the lack of fight or willingness to battle by Stepan. Staal and Klein well injuries have token their toll along with G and these guys can’t be called on to win 16 play off games.

    Not playing with passion,toughness or fire at home in the play offs for over three years now is inexcusable. That’s has to be on the coach and the players because they’re mostly the same. AV is stubborn and the players well time to move on from many of them. The front office should’ve broken this up last year. YOU DON’T WIN THE CUP WITHOUT A NUMBER ONE CENTER.

    That locker room needs a voice one or more need to be founded before the start of next season. Please trade Stepan already please. If I’m on that team I would have been clocked his ass for being a passenger while other are making hard scarcities. Let him collect his check in another city next year.

  24. Spozo says:

    Maybe I’m a little defensive because i was there but I don’t get the hate on the crowd. 11 shots through the first 2 periods. 90% of which were from the perimeter. A PP that was more of a buzzkill than an advantage. The ability for Klein to make me think for a second “was Holden actually that bad?”. The inability to have ANY sustained offense. What exactly was I supposed to be excited for? 85% of the game was played in the Rangers zone so am I supposed to cheer for awful defense? I saw more of that than anything else lastnight!

    This whole “it doesn’t matter you should be loud for a playoff game” is complete crap.

    And honestly what does it even matter? If there is a player in that locker room that would ever say out loud that the lack of noise in the building was the reason he was awful lastnight then I don’t want him in a Ranger uniform.

    • Chris F says:

      The point isn’t whether the Rangers played well enough to create a deafening roar. They didn’t.

      The point isn’t whether the fans are responsible for the Rangers poor play. They aren’t.

      The point is two-fold:

      First, the fans were dead from the get-go. They never gave the Rangers a chance to get them excited because they were too busy twiddling their thumbs during the pregame. The place should have been jumping from puck drop, BEFORE the excuse ever came to fruition that the Rangers just weren’t good enough to get the place excited.

      Secondly, and more importantly, the dead atmosphere during the pregame and through puck drop likely encouraged the Canadiens. It’s not so much that a deflated building took the wind out of the Rabgers, it’s that it gave impetus to Montreal. They just stole game 2 with a shocking comeback then they come down to NY where they should be facing a much more resilient NY team backed by its home fans and instead they step out on the ice in front of a broken fanbase. If I’m a Canadien, I’m now even more encouraged to go for the jugular.

      Simply put, it was so the quietest crowd I’ve heard all playoffs….way before the puck ever dropped. Inexcusable.

      • Walt says:

        Chris

        Maybe if they fielded a real team with heart, grit, and desire, the fan base would be cheering. They have been fed a steady diet of BS, by this horse sh*t coach, who refuses to make any moves, and insists that the offense remain the same, is getting out coached again. Bottom line, we stunk up the place, and the fan base was holding their collective breath to prevent that stench from getting into their lungs!!!!!!!!! Now please defend this joker if you want, I believe there are a load of people whose eyes have been made wide open to this clowns ineptness!!!!!!

        • Chris F says:

          I’d love to hear what brilliant ideas you have for what changes he should make.

          • Sammy says:

            Chris don’t you know by now Walt has all the answers. He can coach better than anyone. I can’t believe how many times he goes on about the coach and I’ve never seen anyone bash a coach or player like him

          • Walt says:

            Chris

            How about blowing up his system that every coach in the NHL has gotten wise to. It seems that he was gang busters in the early going, and then the team hit a wall at about mid season. Why not go to basic hockey, simple outlet passes, abandon the long stretch passes that go nowhere. He never seems to put people in positions to get a successful run, before they are yanked again, and again. Seriously, we’re in the PO’s, and AV still, after what 85 games, has yet to settle on set lines, you don’t see a problem there? I’m sorry my friend, that is poor personnel management!!!!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Walt, the set line thing is a little overblown. Coaches juggle lines all the time. And with this group of underachievers, what choice does he have? They’ve been trying to find combos that work for two months. They just aren’t that good.

              • Walt says:

                E3

                How can anything work my friend, when they change from shift to shift??? Why not let them develop some chemistry? What a novel concept!!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                In fairness, they lost a lot of manpower games to injury. Hard to maintain any consistency that way. And, AV, either by choice or necessity created by injuries, chose to double down on rest over rhythm.

                Personally, while rest is obviously needed, I would not have done what AV did there. The team hadn’t played well in weeks. If they were healthy, I would have played them. But then he would have been skewered for wearing the players out.

                Damned if you do, damned if you dont.

            • Chris F says:

              Walt,

              Game 1, AV chooses to go with Glass, Canadiens came out pumped, we weathered the storm, Glass scores and the Rangers take over the game out shooting Montreal 17-5 in the third period, and shut them out 2-0. No need to tweak or adjust at this point.

              Game 2, same lineup, same strategy. Rangers play a solid game, taking a 3-2 lead through the third. Holden/Staal get trapped on the ice late without a whistle and blow the game. OT is a merciless disaster. Series tied 1-1.

              AV recognizes Holden’s performance was abysmal. Benches Holden for Klein heading into Game 3, in hopes of sending a message about the importance of net presence. Rangers play a physical game, for sure, but falter at just about everything else. AV juggles lines throughout looking for something, but the team can’t find their groove at all. Rangers lose Game 3.

              Heading into Game 4, looks like Buchnevich will enter the lineup and AV has promised we’ll see a different team tomorrow that won’t quit.

              He’s been making adjustments. Why don’t you give it a chance? See what happens. Hell, maybe you’ll even enjoy watching the game. You never know!

              • Walt says:

                Chris

                When you go into the 3rd, up a goal, and go into the prevent defense, and get out shot 1000 to 1, and the game gets tied, it takes everything out of a player. That same player then has to turn on the juices again to try and get the game winner. These are men, not machines, but that is what is expected by the coach. How about keeping the foot on the accelerator, going for the kill, rather than the prevent, that only prevents you from winning?? This a an example of AV again being out classed, out coached, and an example of the simpleton thinking on his part!!!!!!!!!

              • Chris F says:

                I seriously doubt that the team had marching orders to hold back, batten down the hatches, and hold on for dear life.

              • Walt says:

                Chris

                If they did, or didn’t get that word then it’s upon the coach at the next time out to settle the team down or chew some ass, but that’s not this guy’s style……Hence the loss!!!!!!!!

          • Walt says:

            see post above, I responded in the wrong post…….

      • pitp says:

        I was at the game and from the first shift, the la k if effort was apparent. Anyone who has watched this team all year could see the players didn’t give a crap and with the lines and d pairs put together by our so called “coach”, it was quite apparent before the game even started that we were doomed. Everyone was just waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop because that’s all we ever get with this team. They get your hopes up only to let you down worse than the time before. They were booed off the ice and man did they deserve it. Said that not even that affected them. They still didn’t put forth one iota of effort. Any time you trot that loser Staal out on the ice when better players are benched, you better believe no one is gonna cheer.

  25. Perry says:

    I know last night was ugly and the frustration level is high but please keep in mind everyone that we were 17 seconds away from being up 2-0 in this series. We have to take a deep breath and move on – play better and win game 4. Keep in mind the old adage you’re never as bad as you look when you lose, never as good as you look when you win. Let’s stick together for the boys and get game 4

  26. Jerry says:

    Ya know, there’s a Sutter available. Just sayin’

    • Perry says:

      the definition of overrated

    • Perry says:

      Everybody talking about the great coaches out there. Sutter (just run out of town in LA) and Julien out coaching AV in this series (Run out of town in Montreal and Boston) and I guess Quenneville forgot how to coach in Chicago because his team hasn’t scored a goal in the playoffs yet (at home no less) and if Torts had won a game against the Penguins we would be screaming to get him back. Take a deep breath people – The PLAYERS need to PLAY BETTER

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Exactly Perry. Sutter’s approach to winning hockey is already archaic– that’s how much the game has changed in just three years.

        It’s always on the coach…of course!

  27. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    mix things up …. play Raanta and Buch and Clendo … cant hurt

    • Perry says:

      I hope your tongue is deeply embedded in your cheek if you think Lundqvist is responsible for this and Clendening will save the day.

    • Spozo says:

      .941 save % and. 2.16 GAA. Brilliant idea to change up the goaltending!!!

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

        lets keep it the same then … brilliant idea

      • Ray says:

        First of all, not great numbers – 7th in save percentage and 9th in GAA. Second, every indication is that the Ranger skaters get better results when Raanta is in net.

        We have two conflicting points of view. One is the observation that the Rangers just get better results when Hank is not in net. The other is that Hank makes lots of pretty saves.

        Admittedly, I am as crazy as everyone else here. We all opt for aesthetics over science. It’s just that I appreciate a goalie who can move the puck more than one who can stop it.

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

          He certainly moves it … Usually a turnover 90% of the time if he goes and plays it

      • Hockey Sittoo says:

        Don’t even try…

  28. pas44 says:

    There’s a fella out there in LA was just canned after getting Stanley 2x’s in the past 5 or 6 years…

    • Perry says:

      and then he forgot how to coach so they missed the playoffs two years in a row??? It’s the PLAYERS!!!!

  29. Chris A says:

    It’s amazing with all the hand-wringing and complaining around here, the two biggest reasons the Rangers lost last night have barely been mentioned. Miller and Zucc taking two of the worst penalties I’ve seen in quite awhile led directly to this loss. What Zucc did was one of the most selfish plays I’ve seen from a Ranger in a long long time. Montreal has been targeting Zucc all series, he can’t snap and cross check Markov in the mouth, you cannot do that in the playoffs, especially in the third period of a one goal game, it’s bush league. Zucc is a great player, a hard worker, and a team guy, but that was garbage. You can’t dole out retribution there. Either the refs see it or they don’t, but the player cannot take matters into his own hands. That penalty is specifically why the Rangers don’t play stupid, macho, caveman hockey, they took the bait last night, and suffered a loss because of it. Good for Julien, his garbage tactics worked for one night.

    The Rangers had a couple chances, Kreider and Grabner both missed wide open nets (of, course, neither registered as a SOG, further proof that looking at SOG, or Shots doesn’t reveal much) so it’s not a question of getting quality chances. Montreal wasn’t really throwing anything at Hank that he couldn’t handle, but as soon as the Rangers were down a man, the floodgates opened. Staying out of the box and keeping Montreal’s efficient PP off the ice is critical this series, the Rangers failed miserably at achieving that goal last night, and they suffered a bad loss because of it.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      What?

    • Chris F says:

      Oh, Chris, I think you’re way off here.

      There were a lot of reasons for the loss, but to single out Zuke and Miller specifically for the penalties, as opposed to any number of players who simply didn’t bring it, is a tad harsh.

      Miller’s penalty was hard to determine if intentional or not. He lost his footing and fell face first toward the puck. I couldn’t tell if he intentionally tried to swipe the puck or if that motion was simply him trying to brace himself. But even if he tried to sneak it in while falling, it’s not exactly that rare. One of the worst penalties you’ve seen in awhile? I guess you missed Montreal getting called for the same exact thing in Game 1.

      As for Zuke’s, he’s been getting abused all series and Markov came flying in on him looking as if he was going to steamroll Zuke from the crease. It was a reactionary penalty more so than a retaliatory penalty. Zuke was bracing for the freight train and the butt of his stick caught Markov in the lip. Non-intentional, and hardly selfish. Guy tried to protect himself, that’s all.

      “Montreal wasn’t really throwing anything at Hank that he couldn’t handle, but as soon as the Rangers were down a man, the floodgates opened.”

      Eh, the Rangers PK has been one of the bright spots this series. They killed off all 7 penalties through first two games, and even the Zuke penalty they dominated and shut down for 3 and half minutes. One mistake and the puck is in the net. That’s hardly letting the floodgates open as soon as they were down a man…

      • Chris A says:

        First off, Montreal scored on both Miller’s and Zucc’s penalties.

        Second, Miller knew what he did, he fired the puck out of frustration as soon as play stopped. It was boneheaded, but it happens. It’s frustrating with JT because he has a long history of bonehead plays. Great talent, and he’s getting better at cutting out mistakes, it just happened. But it’s still a miserable and irresponsible penalty to take.

        Third, Zuke wasn’t trying to protect himself, he was getting chippy. The timing was awful. Just take the abuse. That’s what a real pro does. It was a bad penalty, and under AV the Rangers don’t take bonehead retaliatory penalties. The fact that Montreal got to run off almost 4 minutes and double their lead, that PK was a disaster.

        I think the world of Zucc and JT, they are serious talents, but they gave Montreal an opportunity in game 3, and Montreal took it.

        Finally, as for the team not bringing it, what do you guys want? The Rangers are playing a very defensive game, knowing that Montreal cannot score unless the Rangers break down and get hemmed in their own zone or take penalties. Again, the Rangers had two golden opportunities in game 3, Kreider and Grabner, and blew them. The Rangers are a broken Holden stick (talking about the game 2 tying goal) and a miss from Kreider and Grabner from being up 3-0 in this series. We should be talking about a sweep at the moment. Yet, everyone wants to harp on a perceived lack of effort. It’s not a lack of effort, it’s poor execution, plain and simple.

        • Walt says:

          Chris

          “The Rangers are a broken Holden stick (talking about the game 2 tying goal) and a miss from Kreider and Grabner from being up 3-0 in this series.”

          Why was this team put in that position, after 40 minutes of turtle defense, garbage will happen, and it did. If the rabbit didn’t stop to take a nap, he wouldn’t have been beat by the turtle, nursery rhymes, not professional sports!!!!!!! Sorry my man, you can’t defend this nonsense………..

          • Chris A says:

            Personally, I would say screw defense and try and blow Montreal out of the building, the NHL doesn’t take your W away if you win a game 7-4 in the playoffs.

            That’s what this Ranger team is, they are set up to play run and gun. AV fell into the mental trap of “It’s the playoffs, we have to be conservative”. All that being said, you can’t deny that this is a close series. Everyone seems to be acting like this is last year all over again. The Rangers aren’t getting outclassed, they simply are playing into Montreal’s hands at the moment.

            • Walt says:

              OK screw defense, but where the hell is the offense? This team can’t function if the outlet passes get shut down, so they start feeling sorry for themselves, you can see it in their body language! Why not dump and chase, that’s what Step does, except he doesn’t chase, he has an aversion to contact. The others just want to have a lea surly skate session, with no contact if possible. I believe this team wants to play flag hockey. Piss poor display.

            • Walt says:

              So for the first time that I can recall, you agree with me, AV screwed up and played too conservatively, and turtled. If that’s the case, the loss halls onto his lap!!!!!!!!

  30. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    There is plenty of blame to go around. The one guy who most certainly should not be blamed is Hank. And the whole idea of benching him is so laughable it’s hard to even imagine anyone even writing such a thing. Good news is, no actual NHL coach would make such a crazy decision–especially after these past three games.

    Dave is right, this fan base, at least some, don’t deserve a goalie like Hank.

    Now let’s get off the “Let’s bench Hank after three brilliant games” crazy train and address some REAL issues, as opposed to the make believe ones.

    1) Our players our overrated. They have been for more than a decade now. But when we have been good, what has been the common denominator? Some level of star power. Or maybe better put, “Swagger Players”.

    Post lockout, Sather added Jagr and Shanahan to a young core group. Those two brought the leadership and talent to make a good but not great team believe that they could do some special things. Opponents always had to respect them when they were on the ice. The result–two exciting playoff runs.

    By the time Torts came on board, he brought a certain swagger no doubt, but with Jagr and Shanny gone, we went through a few years where there was no one you could really count on. We had hoped that Drury and Gomez would be those guys, but they weren’t good. Result–quick exits or no playoffs.

    Then Richards joined the team. He and Gabby gave the Rangers swagger again. Gabby was the legitimate sniper we needed. Richards was a leader. He wasn’t the captain, but he was one of the big voices in that room. He brought a presence to the room and the ice. With those two leading the way, Torts had his best season in NY. The following year, for reasons only Torts knows, he ran Gabby out of town, and Richards on top of that had a bad year. Result? A disappointing finish to what was, going in, a season where much was expected. Torts out, AV in.

    When AV came on board, he had a rejuvenated Richards. But the team REALLY gained it’s swagger back when they acquired MSL. When those guys were on the ice, effective or not, the opposition had to pay attention. They were no longer in their prime, but still were difference making players. The young players on the Rangers loved MSL (and from what I understand, still do!). He was the crucial piece in what became a remarkable run to the SCF.

    The following year, Richards was gone, and MSL slipped badly in the second half. The “swagger” factor was diminished, and combined with the injuries suffered, they ran out of gas one period too soon.

    So now, these last two years, it was supposed to be step up performances from players who had been previously supporting pieces to the puzzle. They were supposed to become the next wave–the new “swagger guys”. But they have proven thus far to be incapable of doing that. There’s no Jagr, no Shanny, no Richards, no Gabby and no MSL. No one to pass the puck too. No one to finish. No one to lead. No one to count on. This is a group all to similar to Tort’s crew in his first three seasons in many ways…good, but not good enough.

    When i look at this current group, that’s what’s missing—that one person that, when he steps on the ice, the opposition needs to be aware of. They have Weber (a true beast, not a make believe beast like some of our guys). They have Max. We dont have that player. Until or unless one of our guys can become that, or we acquire someone via trade or FA, I dont think it’s realistic to think we are going to have much success in the playoffs.

    2) All I kept hearing was how great Beueke would be. Not saying this is on him, but if Ulfie was still here, we’d have a bunch of people killing him right about now. I do wonder whether or not our assistant coaches are good enough. Our PP and PK need to be better. Might we see what happened at the back end of Coughlin’s Giants run, when ownership made him shake up his coordinators?

    3) To me, i dont blame the crowd at all. They have had little to cheer about lately. Mediocre home record this year. Abysmal recent playoff home record. I wasn’t there but I heard the crowd was amped up early. The crowd is human. It’s hard to stay up when you know deep down this team just isn’t all that good and has disappointed time and time again.

    If Kreider had finished on that easy scoring chance, I think the building would have exploded and it all would have been different. But the words “Kreider” and “finishing” don’t belong in the same sentence, so the outcome of that play was no surprise.

    4) AV? Look, I have been a supporter and still am. But he’s not blameless here. It is his responsibity to figure this out. The question is, what moves realistically can he make? Making moves for the sake of making moves often backfires. This is like a lineup of solid but unspectacular .260 hitters who played reasonably well during the season ALL going ice cold at the wrong time. What do you do? I think most managers/coaches would count on the guys that brought you to the party, and hope they can find their stroke before time runs out.

    AV needs to make the right calls here and yes, he needs to be better too. But mostly, this is on the players. These guys are overrated and have proved it over and over. But they are surely better than this. And really, aren’t we all pushing the panic button? They’ve played one awful game–last night. They play a good game tomorrow–it’s likely 2-2 and we have a series. Even though I thought Montreal was and is the better team and that they would probably win, this is still doable if our alleged stars show up.

    5) In terms of AV’s future here, if the Rangers play like they did last night in Games 4 and 5, well, there will be lots of talk about making a change–and rightfully so.

    But all that depends on what management’s expectations were and are for this team. If you play “connect the dots”, you come up with this–

    –AV was extended to a multi-year deal and huge pay raise mid-season–a deal they did not have to do at that time. If performance this year was the primary focus, wouldn’t the Rangers have waited until the end of this season before offering an extension?

    –Last summer, the Rangers traded arguably their best center, “Big Game” Brassard, for an unproven although talented younger and cheaper option in. Mika. They also let their star puck moving defenseman Yandle go for nothing.

    –At the trade deadline, the Rangers essentially did nothing, at least compared to their “all in” approach of past years.

    –And not for nothing, most experts saw this team as taking a step back this season. The team’s extraordinary start raised hopes beyond what was likely realistic. For two months now, this team has been the medicore borderline playoff type team they were forecasted to be. It just took some time to get there.

    So if all these statements are true, then it is hard to imagine that AV would get canned. If he did, to me, it would be a HUGE black mark on our new GM who just three months ago declared AV was the right guy for this team long term. Nothing that should happen three months later should change that if you want to be taken seriously as an executive and as an organization—

    UNLESS, something new has happened behind the scenes (a Torts “room” issue) that we dont know about. But again, if true, real awful job by our GM, who if I were ownership would dismiss him instead of the coach if he came to me with such a recommendation after getting me to shell out a huge extension.

    • Ray says:

      I agree with your assessment that AV won’t be fired. However, I do see it as worth considering. Many will disagree with his team construction, but he won’t get fired for that, certainly not after the vote of confidence. However,

      1. There is a “room” issue of sorts. The Rangers lacked spirit against Pitt last year and may again this year. That is a more serious problem than everyone hates the coach. A coaching change may not be the best way to enliven the team, but what else is there?

      2. There is a question as to the fundamental soundness of the team. Lundqvist was without a stick for 48 seconds. Nash could have easily gone offside. Numerous players could have iced the puck. Nobody did anything to stop play. It’s the sort of mistake you don’t expect a well-coached team to make. If this is the only example, it hardly matters, but I don’t think it is.

    • Hockey Sittoo says:

      The crazy “go with Raanta” take is legitimately insane. Hank has been the best player on a the ice by a country mile. But whatever … If it fits a narrative people will continue to push it. Let’s just ignore the actual issues and blame the guy who “only” has a .940 save %.

      • Rich S says:

        Herb Brooks said ‘Its not about the best player its about having the right player…..
        The rangers , at home for sure play horribly with hank in net…..whats the harm of trying something different????
        Could the outcome be any worse?

        • Chris F says:

          Hank isn’t the problem! So you bench the best player because every one else sucks?

  31. Chris F says:

    Man, this Caps/Leafs series is shaping up to be a classic. Reminds me of that Pens/Jackets series a couple years ago.

    • Sammy says:

      I agree Chris. That’s been a great series. The best so far

      • Chris F says:

        Holy shit, this Leafs team is fun to watch! 4-3 in OT and they lead the series!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Talk about a coach who legitimately is on the hot seat–that would be Barry Trotz. One and done with this roster after winning the President’s Trophy two years in a row–and his pathetic playoff resume? He makes AV look like Coach Q!

          • Walt says:

            E3

            There is the classic example of what I’ve called for, for ever. Young kids don’t worry, or think too much, they play the game hard, have fun, and go out and upset hot dogs like Ovie, and company who were taking the Leafs too lightly!!!! Oh how I love kids!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Yes…I agree…if they are exceptionally talented and led by a future superstar like Mathews. We have had nothing or no one close to that. Our kids are at their best good. Good young players are not enough and wont win you much. Mathews is already one of the best players in the game.

              So I’d amend that to “Oh how I love GREAT kids”!

              • Walt says:

                Well that’s a start for you, and I’ll accept it. The only way we can get a shot at any quality kids is to draft, in the FIRST round!!!!!!!!! Not to open a can of worms, but weren’t you one of the guys who said we don’t need 1st round picks, we can get guys like Vesey, and Hayes to come and play for us, but now they are marginal at best from that same crowd????????????

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Not a can of worms at all. Yes, but you generally won’t find that difference make late first round. Those guys you mentioned were former first rounders, right?

                Anyway, I’m not saying they won’t ever become something special. Vesey and Buch are still very young and need experience. We don’t know who or what they will become. But you can’t win it all with just good but not great players.

                I mentioned the other day that when I covered the team in the early 80s, the talk was about our “great” young forwards who would lead us to a Cup….Duguay, Murdoch, Maloney and then a few years later Pavelich. They were good, but the Isles drafted Bossy and Trottier. The Oilers Gretzky and Messier. Later the Pens Jagr and Lemieux.

                Good players deliver good results. Great players deliver great results. Those players are rarely found when drafting 20-30 in the first round. So compiling more Kreider/Miller types doesnt really excite me.

                And keep in mind, the Leafs did exactly what I have preached—building with a combination of youth and age. Bozak and Komarov are key parts of that roster. Five guys on their roster are 30 and over. Six guys on our roster are over 30, so not really much of a difference there.

                Toronto average age–26.771
                rangers average age–26.783

                Both among the youngest teams in the league.

              • Chris A says:

                Walt, Matthews was a #1 overall pick. C’mon dude! Freaking JVR was a #2 overall pick and he’s nothing special. The draft is a combination of many things, mostly luck and timing. You have to be one of the worst teams in the league AND you have to be fortunate enough to be that worst team in the right year AND you have to win the draft lottery.

                You can’t plan on drafting a generational talent, they tend to fall into your lap.

              • Walt says:

                E3 & Chris

                I could care less if Matthews was #1 over all, or JVR was #2, the point is if the Leafs, or Flyers had traded their #1 picks, they would never had a shot at these players at all. You plan to run an organization has been the same for over 90 years, and in that time frame, well 1940, 1994, wow, that’s a hell of a record.

                Why is Chicago, and Pittsburgh, winning cups, and still get quality kids in their system. Wilkes-Barre has some outstanding talent, we have horse crap to bring up, why is that? Could it be that they keep their #1’s, and #2’s, we give away the shop for old farts who come here for a big payday, and early retirement!!!!!!!

                Sorry the record is there for anyone to see first hand, and it’s proof positive that your idea stinks to high heaven, unless you’re happy with being the second fiddle in the band?????????????

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Answer is simple. Those teams did three things—

                1) They scored HUGE in the draft with future superstars (plural) when they had favorable draft position.

                2) As they got good, they added to that with good, what I call, “component piece” players that add to the depth.

                3) They signed veteran free agents to add to the mix.

                We did numbers 2 and 3. We forgot to do number 1. Thus they win multiple cups and we are a very succesful second banana team.

                And again, every single one of these teams signed veteran FAs and made decisions to do multi-year deals with key assets.

                That’s how every single SC champion is crafted in the modern era. So if you dont do the job on point number one, then you have no choice then but to double down on number three to get the star power needed to make a deep run.

  32. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    Crowd still stayed in the game in Toronto down 3-1 … And the team kept skating !! We stopped in the 3rd period of game 2

  33. JoeS. says:

    I’m sorry, I skimmed through this post. Seems a lot of people blaming AV. Here is my issue, I did not see AV on the ice last night. What I saw was a bunch of NHL players that looked like the were not interested in being there. Wow did they suck! To blame AV may be the easy answer, but really, the players completely sucked. I don’t care who the coach was, nobody could fix what was wrong last night. Looked to me they were not interested in CUP, but going home to their lives. Hope I’m wrong, still rooting, but even I, the ultimate optimist, can’t see a positive in the game.

    • Chris F says:

      Two things.

      Yes, you’re right, the players completely shoulder the blame on this one. No amount of line tweaking, matchup gamesmanship, or Hollywood speeches was going to alter the course of the game last night. Rangers were off, way off, and the Canadiens were just on.

      But, no, it didn’t have anything to do with the Rangers not wanting the Cup. I refuse to believe there is a single player in the League who doesn’t want to do whatever it takes to hoist the Cup. Something wasn’t right last night. I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I can assure you it wasn’t as simple, or as horrifying, as the players just not caring.

      • Walt says:

        Chris

        You may be right, there aren’t any players who don’t want the cup, but there are plenty who won’t do what it takes to win it. That is the reason we have winners, and losers!!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Agree…or may not truly understand what it takes to win. That’s where we miss a MSL or Richards type. No one has been willing or able to fill that leadership gap since they left. We have no one who has a Cup ring to show off except Bueke. To me, that’s a big problem.

          • Walt says:

            Sure, they bring in the relics that need a wheelchair after the game to be leaders. Where is the self motivation? I’m from the old school, I don’t need anyone to show me, I’ll make mistakes, but eventually I get it right. These guys are just too pampered!!!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Every champion has some of those players. The Rangers dont come close to winning the Cup in 1994 without Messier. And they have zero chance to get to the SC Final without MSL and Richards in 2014.

  34. Bobby B says:

    Rangers are toast, no accountability, no passion, game 3 was a complete disaster, with no one even looking to do something about it. AV??, the players?? this is an eye opener for Gorton. Keep the few that want to play the game with passion, cut loose the fat cat contracts, every series I am watching is exciting, except Rangers vs Canadians. How about those Maple leaves, making Ovie and his Caps shit in their pants, watch them win the Cup in the next 2 years, while we still are on 1 in 75 years, Can you imagine if we did not have 1994 to fall back on.

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

      Every other team is in Playoff mode …. We’re still thinking about playing for a tie or maybe squeezing 2 pts out of it

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Umm, high end talent (Mathews chief among them), would have something to do with that I would think if they do win.

      If even one of our so-called stars would start playing like that, then it’s a different narrative. Until then–good but not great. And that’s not enough to go the distance in post-season.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      But you are right, I hope this is a wake up call for Gorton. The roster needs an overhaul involving some bold trades.

  35. Peter says:

    I’ve been watching the Leafs and the Oilers. Hockey’s future, if not the present. The way those teams are playing, who knows! The Rangers need to watch what real passionate play looks like. They seem to have forgotten.

  36. Good job says:

    Good post, keep