Apr
19

And now comes the challenge: Be consistent

April 19, 2017, by

alain vigneault

After a Game 3 that was embarrassing at every level, the Rangers pulled a complete 180 and played the best game we’ve seen them play in quite some time in Game 4. The score showed a close 2-1 game, but the Rangers controlled play in the final two periods. From an execution standpoint, they did everything right.

Aside from everything mentioned in the goal breakdown, the Rangers had a strong showing on the stat sheet too. Only three players sat below a 50% CF% last night: Jimmy Vesey, Dan Girardi, and Ryan McDonagh. That’s not to say that trio had bad games, it’s more that the whole team was able to keep the puck in the Montreal zone.

What’s more impressive is the breakdown of 5v5 shot attempts taken/allowed by period:

  • 1st period: 19 shot attempts for, 12 shot attempts against
  • 2nd period: 21 shot attempts for, 15 shot attempts against
  • 3rd period (while defending a lead!): 14 shot attempts for, 12 shot attempts against

The Rangers were consistently in the Habs’ zone at even strength. The most impressive part is that they didn’t turtle in the third period either. They didn’t necessarily push, but they played solid defense and prevented the Habs from generating anything sustained.

But which version of the Rangers is the true team? Is it the one from Game 3, or the one from Game 4?

In reality, the answer is neither. Those are the two extremes of the spectrum. Neither team is what we should expect from the Rangers going forward. For the Rangers to be successful in this series and to be able to advance, they need to be closer to the Game 4 version than the Game 3 version.

What I didn’t mention above is scoring chances and high quality chances. From the goal breakdown, we saw that the Rangers really did a phenomenal job of limiting the high quality chances in Game 4. If I were to pick one defensive aspect to continue, it is that. The CF% numbers can be skewed from game to game.

From an offensive standpoint, I want to see the number of shot attempts continue at this rate. It’s a sign of two things: Sustained offensive zone pressure/cycle, and limiting the time spent in the defensive zone. Successful and pressuring offense is the best defense in hockey.

The key is going to be consistency. Can the Rangers realize that this is the way they need to play? Will they be able to deal with the adjustments that Claude Julien will make? Or will they get overwhelmed in Montreal –or worse, think they have it figured out– and regress back to Game 3’s performance?

All of this is now on Alain Vigneault. Can he push the right buttons to ensure the club doesn’t regress back to Game 3’s performance? Or will he keep them moving forward and playing consistently? Game 5 will show us a lot.

"And now comes the challenge: Be consistent", 1 out of 5 based on 5 ratings.
Categories : Playoffs

102 comments

  1. SalMerc says:

    Expect the Habs to get a real jump from their crowd and the NYR to receive an early onslaught of fire. If we can hold off the barrage in the first 8 minutes and still be close, or tied, we should be okay. What I do not want is us to be behind 2-0 after 3 minutes.

    We need to use our speed and (hopefully) get some PP time. This should offset any of the craziness. If we put ourselves in the box early, we might be headed for a long night.

    We need some of the invisibles to show their face, namely JT and Kreider. We also need the refs to call the trips and slashes.

    • Jack says:

      JT played great and Kreider was forced yo play in the offensive zone due to his new center and Buchs. The production should be able to start flooding in soon. Why do you rip on JT but no mention of Stepan who can’t just be invisible due to how many plays he messes up on with his TOI at the price of 6.5?

      The refs probably read comments like yours and then they start to hold grudges. If you could tell them this face to face then I bet they would direct your inner anger towards the NYR failures at Stepan, they get a front row seat of that overrated name.

      • SalMerc says:

        I am sure the ref’s read this and act accordingly.

        Stepan actually played one of his better games. Believe me, I think he is quite over-rated, but he played better than JT and Kreider last night.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          He’s been playing better than JT and Kreider for a few weeks now. Our so-called stars have been largely MIA.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Right E3. Negativity is allowed in this thread, lol.

            Actually it’s not negative, Hayes (who now won’t shoot even if his life depended on it), Miller, Kreider, Stepan, and Zib have not been good, overall in this series.

            Zuc, Nash, and the 4th line have been good.

            Holden may be our worst D man right now and that includes Kampfer and Clendening.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Holden has been a problem, no doubt. Even I am starting to question AV on this one. But I suspect the perceived “better” options are actually, in reality, not better.

              • Richter1994 says:

                He was lost bro. Didn’t know where to go. I think he’s totally lost his confidence. Kampfer should play.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                That’s my preference as well. Safe and steady.

  2. Al Dugan says:

    Dave, the last paragraph? No, it’s on the players. That’s an easy out for all of us. Blame the coach. Let’s have our PLAYERS do the job.

    Anyway, we often tend to ignore the job the other team is doing. Montreal played very well and smothered NYR on Easter Sunday. We forget to acknowledge that there is another team on the ice when we complain.

    BTW, go watch of some of the goaltending in the other series. The guy in Calgary? Bob in CBJ land? MAF in Pittsburgh? Holy crap, these guys have been awful. The only consistent thing about the other series is the refereeing has been awful!

    Another point, Anyone who ever mentions Nash in the playoffs again should be banned from this board and all others. Best player last year and again this year. By far.

    The Garden was loud last night. And one last point, rally towels make no noise. Hate them..

  3. Chris F says:

    Oh, brother, here we go again. The Rangers came out last night and put on a clinic. They were given the personnel and line combinations to do that and they executed, nearly to a man.

    But for them to replicate that effort tomorrow, they need a coach to “push the right buttons”?

    How can you make the claim that it’s all on AV now to motivate and ensure consistency rather than on the 19 players out there to execute?

    Again and again, the role of a coach gets completely mischaracterized.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Chris (and Al above), I think you’re coming on unnecessarily strong. Part of what comes with the job is responsibility for the team’s performance. Yes, it is a shared responsibility with the roster, but if the Rangers lay a dud tomorrow, AV absolutely has to answer for it.

      Read back on my posts throughout the year(s), and you’ll see that I am all about the need for players to be personally accountable- but there is nothing wrong with Dave’s last paragraph. It doesn’t mean that they have to win. It means that they have to be ready for the stage and are expected to execute accordingly. The coach is largely responsible for doing what needs to be done to ensure that happens as well as making any necessary adjustments should it not.

      • Chris F says:

        So, AV made some tweaks yesterday and it paid off, but also the players stepped up.

        Now let’s assume that AV ices the best possible lineup tomorrow, and he gives them marching orders to continue to press with 2 men in on the forecheck, and to press the blueline and stifle entries, and he gives a nice Hollywoodesque pregame speech.

        Now, he’s done everything he can to prepare them, motivate them, cajole them, and inspire them and they still go out and fall flat. How’s that his fault? I think you all expect way too much from coaches. They’re actually not all that important.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Might as well not make the trip up to MTL then, I guess. He can make his Hollywoodesque pregame speech via Skype.

          • Chris F says:

            They set lines, and make in game adjustments, and dress who they dress. They also set broad strategies and have players practice those strategies.

            But if the players don’t show up, we’re being far too lenient on them to assume a coaching failure.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              There’s a very human element to the game which needs to be considered. A coach is crucial to managing the momentum swings during a season, series and singular game. Anyone who’s been on the bench before can tell you that matters. If I’m not skating during a particular game, a good coach will look down the bench and give Chris F my ice, for example.

              I agree with you, he is not a scapegoat and NHLers are (mostly) adults who should be able to shoulder more of the mental game. If a team doesn’t perform everyone has to answer for it, players, goalies, coaches, front office personnel, etc. But to some extent, the coach is responsible for the collective effort and performance of his players. That’s just how it is.

              • Jack says:

                Lol it sounds like you went to a school with a deep program or had a tough coach. The last time I remember that I had ice taken away from me was in Bantams with the kids dad as a coach type ordeal. Then again I never needed a wake-up call to move my feet. I think the pro’s is a bit different then most of our experiences unless if you’re talking about AA hockey and up.

              • SalMerc says:

                My take on this is the difference on being a manager and being a leader. Both have their place and different people and underlings respond differently to each. AV may like to be a hands-off manager, who lets his sub-managers do the managing/ not a micro-manager by any means. This may work well for the team, not for the fans.

                There comes a time when things hit the skids, and the hands-off Mgr, needs to by-pass the managers and deliver the message directly. I think he had to do that on Monday. It sent a strong message because it was out of character. It worked, but it cannot be used all the time. Whether we like it or not, this is his style. The players need to step up and listen to the coaches. They know the urgency and shouldn’t need a cattle prod.

        • Reenavipul says:

          It’s all part of the job description. Sometimes you gotta give a guy a pat on the butt, other times you gotta put a boot in it.

          AV wants no part of that construct.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            And of course you know this because, uh, how exactly? Just because we don’t see him do it doesn’t mean it isn’t getting done.

            Why don’t we ask one of the players what they think?

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

            That was from JT Miller…just a few weeks ago. Hardly sounds like the description of a coach who doesnt know when to be hard on his players.

            • Reenavipul says:

              If he had put a boot up their keister Miller would have learned a lot quicker. You think AV gave them the hair dryer after their brutal effort in game 3? Fat chance.

          • Richter1994 says:

            You can’t have a weak player leadership group police themselves. If Messier were here ok, but the closest thing to him being here or anyone like him is his jersey that hangs in the rafters.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Well, that is a valid point–if it were true. The thing is, some of us feel like somehow, all this has to be proven to us. We have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Just because these guys are “businesslike and even keeled” to the public, it does not mean that is the case in the room.

              You could be right…but we just don’t know.

              • Richter1994 says:

                We don’t know but McD is a very good player but is he a real leader? Enough to pull the players out of rut? Or Nash?

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                On the service, it doesn’t appear so. But I know from experience, when you are around the team and in the room (to the extent the press can be), you get a very, very different look than what the public sees.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Should be..on the “surface”

              • Reenavipul says:

                Because the MSG PR department is so good at keeping bad stories out of the press.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Yeah right. There’s nothing bad ever reported about an MSG team. Just ask the Knicks.

      • Walt says:

        HS

        The players, and the coach should share the responsibility for their performances. The coach has to have a good game plan, put out the right players to get the maximum effort from same, and adjust as needed.

        The players, who should have enough pride to give their best every time they hit the ice. If they don’t, well they should be ashamed of themselves for it!!!!!!!

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Maybe I’m having trouble with my posts, but that’s all I’m trying to say. No qualms with that here.

        • Jack says:

          AV isn’t a hands on type of coach, his job normally is how runs the system and to get them ready through a up tempo practice. Let’s not act like he goes into the dressing room with inspiration. Maybe he should or maybe he shouldn’t but that all to late to question now. I personally think he should light a fire them but we’re 4 years deep with this guy and he’s never operated like that. That was his down fall in 2011 with the Nucs, he let the vets like Kesler and Bieksa take control which falter their game to play into the Bruins mugging aka that was the red carpet on how Boston won it that year. Does that sound familiar like in a recent game 3? AV should only be ripped apart for his lineup decision.

      • Egelstein says:

        Coaching failures are painfully obvious to spot. It is not a coincidence that AV finally did some of the things with his lineups last night that many fans on this blog (and several other blogs) have been clamoring for him to do more regularly all season…and lo and friggin’ behold, it worked. Imagine that. The act of simply being a coach in the NHL does not guarantee that whatever you do puts your team in the best position.

        Of course the players need to show up. I don’t think anyone is debating that. However, they also need to be put in a position to succeed. The players can never be blamed for the line composition or their deployment. Coaches have a high capacity to limit/stunt their teams in these areas. You can have all the talent in the world as a coach – if you’re putting together nonsensical lines that try to make the strengths of the roster fit the scheme and not the other way around, and running deployment plans that lead to the wrong group of players being on the ice for too many minutes against superior talent and/or at the worst possible times, these things can be HUGE hurdles for the team to overcome. AV has shown a penchant for trying to jam square pegs into round holes his entire career, unfortunately. It is a complaint that was common among VAN fans prior to his departure.

        Last night he didn’t do so much of that. It was a great result. This is not at all a coincidence, IMO.

        • Jack says:

          I’m not sure if you meant your comment to sound like that if I’m mot mistaken so I agree with you. AV’s biggest issue here in NY is giving out the correct ice time, lines and pair and most importantly the right names that would be inserted to play. He doesn’t need to be that rawr rawr type of coach, he just can’t play favorites which would leave a ripple effect through lines 1-4. If Glass plays then no more rolling out the 4th line with ease and from there the lines will be screwed up. I’ll hold my speech about G and Staal because I think the FO is forcing him to play those contracts. Holden and that love affair is BS to me though, he should have tried out Clendening after the no go for Klein.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          When a team has a flawed roster and lacks true star power, trying to jam square pegs into round holes is sometimes all you can do.

          I don’t buy for a second that AV is limiting the success of his players. These players are what they are…good but not great.

          If this issue were actually true, no chance Gorton extends AV and gives him a raise. No chance that a Kevin Hayes, in the Players’ Tribune, praises him. And no chance all these young FA choose to come play for a guy like you describe.

          • Egelstein says:

            Regarding your first point, this might be true for some rosters. I do not believe it is or for the most part has been during AV’s tenure true for the Rangers. Keep in mind, our main star happens to be in net. That seems to get overlooked at times, as though the only stars that count are skaters. Legit worldwide superstar and a generational talent.

            That said, AV has never needed to play Tanner Glass, for example, any more than he has needed to sit Adam Clendening, any more than he has needed to give Girardi top pair minutes, any more than he has needed to put Jesper Fast in the top six, any more than he has needed to not have the KZB line together for much of the year even though they usually seem to look great when they are any more than…I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at, even if you may not agree. These were not needs and they are not all AV can do. They are his decisions that could be made in various ways. When you have the depth that AV has had in NY during his tenure, these sorts of things are choices. Some coaches would even call such depth a luxury, I think.

            I absolutely think he has limited some players by putting them in positions that they are not fully suited for. How many wins have such things cost them? Who knows. I think it has cost them a few here and there, however. I seriously struggle to think of a less flexible coaching effort than from AV during NYR vs. PIT last season. That series was always gonna go to PIT, but I think it could have been a lot less ugly. I’m sorry, but AV making common sense adjustments like he did between game 3 and last night simply has not happened enough in his tenure. I like coaches who adjust the system to fit the strengths of the roster, because that’s what I see works best. AV definitely more tries to bend the roster to his ideal system, and he always has; he has been fortunate to have pretty deep rosters and solid goalkeeping in his last two coaching stops.

            Regarding the final points, I don’t think any of these things are at all mutually exclusive, frankly. There are a number of reasons for a young player to play for the New York Rangers regardless of who the coach is, and there are a number of reasons for a team to an extend a coach even if they may not be perfect. There’s a reason most coaches get fired prior to their contract being up rather than finish their contract and ride off into the sunset…because teams usually have to extend them for longer periods of time than they will retain them if results evaporate. This is any sport, not just hockey. Just because they don’t want a coach to walk doesn’t mean they will unconditionally want him around for as long as they extended him. This seems rather obvious to me.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              If we had more time, I can point out just about every situation where Glass has played that made sense. Whether it was Miller’s work ethic, Hayes being out of shape, Lindberg being hurt, Sheppard not being good…to me, these were all valid reasons to go with Glass. And the idea that we had significant depth prior to this year, sorry, I dont see it. Once again, our talent is being overrated.

              We made a deep playoff run with Glass in the lineup in 2015, and Glass made an even deeper run in Vancouver. I cant speak for Vancouver, but in NY, I cant think of one playoff game where his presence hurt us.

              Clendening is another fancy stat darling like McIlrath was that has played in an astounding six organizations in three years, and probably is less than 50-50 to even be in the league next year. Whereas, I suspect that if Girardi, Staal, Holden or Klein were available this summer, most if not all GMs would take a flyer on any of them over Clendo.

              The KZB line? You do realize that Buch was hurt and out for sometime. He wasn’t all that good once he came back. We have no idea what was going on behind the scenes in terms of his readiness. Meanwhile, down the stretch anyway, the DMC line was arguably the only one that was doing anything. Why breaks up the one line that was actually doing anything?

              On the last paragraph, I agree to some extent. But I think you are distorting this. The implication by you and others is that deployment and treatment of young players is a problem with this coach. If that is his big flaw, why would any player choose to play for a coach with a bad rep? No chance.

              BTW, did you see Kevin Hayes’ comments about AV in The Players’ Tribune. He pretty much acknowledged that AV was definitely part of the reason he chose to come here. That wasn’t based on a reporter’s question. His own words. In addition, Brian Boyle, who some said was chased out by AV, basically told Hayes what a good coach AV is.

              Has there been ANY player, even a former player, who played for AV in NY that had anything negative to say about the guy? Before you answer, I will point out that there were several who blasted Torts.

              My point is, there is NO evidence that any Rangers player has had a significant issue with this coach. None. Zero. So it seems to me the AV critics are just making stuff up without even a well-sourced runmor to remotely suggest that it may be true.

              As for the extension, yes, you are absolutely correct. Most coaches do not survive their contract. But that’s not the point.

              AV had another full season yet to go. There was absolutely no reason to give him an extension at that time. That decision could have been delayed until after this season. And it wasn’t just an extension…it was a mega-extension and raise, putting him into the upper echelon of the coaching establishment. No GM does that unless he believes he has a terrific coach that they want to commit to long term.

              Could AV be canned? Sure. Anything is possible. But the Rangers would loook like fools if they did that now. It’s a virtual guarantee he gets all of next season and probably into the following season. And rightly so.

              AV’s extension….trade Brassard, let Yandle go, no major move at the deadline. Rangers get younger. Connect the dots. It almost certainly means the Rangers are focused more on the long term now than trying to win now, and they believe that AV is right guy to develop the young players and turn them into a winner perhaps in a year or two. What they do this year is likely just gravy.

              • Egelstein says:

                Regarding Glass, you’d need a lot more than time to convince me that his presence on any NHL roster is acceptable, let alone makes sense. No matter why he has ever been on the ice in NY, there was a more-skilled player behind him that brings more to the table. Sometimes that has been someone on the NY roster, sometimes that has been someone on the Hartford roster. It does not take much to qualify as having a higher skill level than Glass; there are literally hundreds of non-NHL players across various leagues (AHL, KHL, etc.) who do.

                In either of my comments, I didn’t refer or even allude to players disliking AV. Not sure why you’re focused on that. However, when exactly was the last time you saw anyone in the Player’s Tribune or any media blast their current coach? Doesn’t happen often. Most players also won’t be blasting their former coaches in the press either, because unless they intend to never hit free agency again, that could cost them in suitors or dollars or both down the road if they are seen as a bad egg in the attitude dept.

                I think the players very much like AV the man, truth be told. Heck, I’d probably like playing for him (unless he benched me for an AHL caliber “enforcer” who doesn’t actually enforce anything). He seems super laid back, never loses his shit. He is a player’s coach in the locker room, far as I can tell and have read about in articles. I get the very distinct impression Torts is the exact opposite; authoritarian and makes it clear he is not there to be your friend. Some guys respond to that, but obviously the group of players the Rangers had at the end of his tenure didn’t.

                I don’t think McIlrath was ever a fancy stat darling. He simply looked better than other options to me and many other fans. Detractors like to say “look at where he is now”…okay. The Rangers could send him down; they can’t do that with some other defenders who have struggled mightily. The Rangers could trade him; they can’t do that with some of the other defenders who have struggled mightily. Why keep any player around if the coach is dead set on not playing him and you have said options?

                Of course injuries derailed the KZB line. Looked like world beaters before that. Why would you NOT want to recapture that as soon as everyone was healthy? I think a lot of coaches would have gone straight back to that line as soon as possible and given it a real chance – not a few games here or there – to gel again. AV, like him or not, no bias at all, is notorious for getting ants in his pants and jumbling his lines game to game.

                In any case, I’m going to go back to the very original point here…for weeks and in some cases months, large segments of Rangers fans have wanted to see AV do exactly some of the things he finally did in game 4 but hasn’t of late prior. It was the best playoff game they’ve had since 2014-15 IMO. This, again, is not coincidence. AV ran out skill over anything else, and had lines with common sense complimentary parts (not to mention arguably the best 4th line in the playoffs when Buch replaces Glass). Skill and line chemistry wins hockey games.

          • Reenavipul says:

            You play Holden 2nd pair, you let Girardi play 1st pair on 1 leg, you are not giving your team the best chance to succeed.

            The team scored more goals this year than the year they went to the ECF. The forwards you bag on all had career years. Kreider was top 30 in goals.

            Gorton, outside of the salary cap, has an Olympic pool full of $100 bills at his disposal. Paying off AV has zero impact on the cap or his budget. Heck, he could probably do it with the hundies Slats uses to light his cigars out at La Quinta. You read too much into a contract.

            Players come here because of the perks that MSG provides and being invisible in the market, not because of a fungible coach.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Your logic is so flawed and twisted on this its hilarious.

              On the defense, if there were any issues in the real NHL world (as opposed to the contrived make believe world you are wishing to create to support your dislike of the coach), a) Gorton would NOT have given an extension he didnt need to give, and b) despite your insistence to the contrary, the press, after four years now, would have gotten something from someone, even a rumor, that there is discontent in the room. Torts made enemies. Some players blasted him. So it’s happened before.

              Do you honestly believe that a Larry Brooks, or even more so, an Elliote Friedman or Bob Mackenzie, who has no ties at all to MSG, wouldn’t LOVE to have a story that said “rumors are Players or upper management are unhappy with the coach”? To suggest the Garden can put a lid on stories to the extent you say is patently absurd.

              On the contract, it is hilarious how off base you are on this. Again, you are letting your blind dislike of a coach send you off the deep end of logic. Please explain why Gorton would give an extension he did not have to give? You cant.

              Yes, of course they have plenty of money to eat a contract. That’s not the point. But barring some stunning revelation, either in terms of a sudden shift in player dissatisfaction, or some other enormous issue that was not present in January, it would be nothing short of gross incompetence if the Rangers fired AV now. Not saying it could not happen. But it’s a 100-1 shot at best. If it happened, the whole fan base should fear for the future if a GM could show that level of utter incompetency to give an enormous raise and massive extension to someone you would turnaround and fire less than six months later. That happens only in the most extreme situations imaginable.

              You are hilarious! Hayes came out and SAID in the Players Tribune that AV was one of the reasons he came here. Then he had Vesey’s ear. Now these two new kids are coming. No player is going to come here if they perceive a coach to be a detriment to their future. Sorry, that’s nuts, and you know it.

              Yes, those guys all had career years…but of course you wont give the coach any credit right? He brought them all along and developed them. And yes, they had a strong year in aggregate on offense. But again, you totally miss the point. None of these guys have proven to be difference making game changing player. None of these guys are perceived as high end offensive threats (for example, not one forward listed in the NHL.com pre-season top 50 list). They haven’t been a good offensive team since mid-February. They historically struggle in the playoffs because they lack a sniper or any natural finishers. So every game is a 2-1 slog. Real, real hard to win a Cup without any stars other than the goalie.

              You usually have far too many intelligent insights to submit the one you just did. This one is simply the “I hate the coach so lets create a nonsensical set of arguments to support a deeply flawed position” post.

              Very entertaining, but very, very flawed logic.

            • Reenavipul says:

              You must be a journo as you took a thousand words for a load of blarney.

              The closest Friedman and McKenzie get to MSG is when Bob is flown down to LaGuardia once a week & shuttled up to Stamford. So unless an agent is feeding them info to move a player out(which rarely happens) you’re relying guys on the tertiary loop.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                On your first paragraph–

                1) load of blarney—(translation, Reena doesn’t have an actual way to respond). Anyway, I forget, you were the one that pretty much insisted that the Rangers would put Staal on LTIR back in January even though every reporter said he would be coming back within days and of course he did. And you were the one that made the utterly preposterous suggestion that, following Hank’s late season return from injury, the Rangers should have he and Raanta split duties. Even though anyone who has followed Hank’s career knows that the best way to get him sharp is to actually play him…and play him a lot. Lo and behold, Hank plays and he is excelling. Great move by AV…uniformed call by you. So physician (or trainer or whatever you are), heal they self! 😉

                On paragraph two…I say EXACTLY. That’s how they get their info. If players were dissatisfied, they’d tell their agents. Friedman and Mackenzie get nuggets all the time. If there was REALLY, TRULY dissatisfaction as you and others pretend to believe, we’d have heard SOMETHING by now, right? After four years? And again, players aren’t going to choose to come here when they have 29 other options if the coach is a liability to the recruiting process. And management has already shown with Torts…if there is a disconnect between coach and players, they will act and dismiss the coach.

                Again, in the real world, it’s called “connect the dots…if it looks like duck and quacks like duck, then it’s likely a duck” thinking.

  4. Peter says:

    The coach is always a convenient target. While AV might not be my favorite NHL coach, I think his is often criticized beyond what might be realistic criticism and is attributed more responsibility for performance and personnel than makes sense.

    The Habs will come out flying and will have a plan to counter the Rangers’ strategy utilized in the last game. But, if the Rangers forecheck as well as they did and clog up the passing lanes and limit shot attempts again, then there will not be much Montreal can do that will be an effective counter. In other words, the Rangers’ players know what to do to win; now it is up to them to do it again. The coach can only do so much.

  5. amy says:

    tomorrow night should be a challenge that the boys should do well take the crowd out of the game and continue what you have been doing and finish this series Saturday night to get some required rest before the second round most likely against Ottawa and big game brass

  6. Joe Cafardo says:

    That was a great effort last night. Smith on D is a beast…unsung hero. Seems Rangers were always down and dirty in front of Price and that was nice to see. It would be great if we could get something ( goals) from KZB line….although Buch is looking like a game from scoring. Montreal will be swarming and expect Pacioretty to lead the charge. Dont like the officiating and Ott is just tryng to get PP time for the big guns.

  7. Chris F says:

    Anyone see the 5v5 matchups from last night?

    http://hockeyviz.com/game/2016030114

    The top pair of Markov/Weber got destroyed.

    Oddly enough, Holden/Staal comes through as the most shutdown pairing, followed by Skjei/Smith, with McDonagh/Girardi largely drawing even.

    • Perry says:

      That’s why analytics have their place right along side the EYE test. Not one or the other

    • stevesse says:

      Question. How was Holden on with Skjei on the Habs goal if he plays with Staal? Also, terrible play by Skjei and Holden.

      • Chris F says:

        Partners don’t always make it onto the ice at the same time. Smith had changed, Holden came on. Skjei was about to change then had to go after that puck at the blueline where it hit the ref.

  8. Rangers Rock says:

    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was a great movie. In the movie, one of the actors played a man that was super fast. To keep him from going too fast he was held down by a large ball and chain(AV’s brain). Once the chain was removed he could go faster than a bullet.
    The coach finally put the team in position to succeed. If he continues to play the same lineup, we will kick ass. This is what I have been talking about for years. AV has great players and in my opinion, can beat anyone. Unfortunately, AV has a mental condition, he tries to self-destruct or sabotage himself and the team.
    The mental condition affects others willingness to play at a top level. It also affects nieve but well-intentioned people like E3:)
    AV need not push any buttons. Just leave the team the way it is now and that’s enough motivation. AV, get out of the way and let them play!

    • Chris F says:

      You’re mental, man.

      He finally put them in a position to succeed? Buchnevich for Glass was a good move, but it was hardly the reason for last night’s performance. If one player’s removal / addition can turn the entire team 180 degrees around, something is seriously wrong.

      It doesn’t work that way. Buchnevich was great last night, but his absence wasn’t what was hamstringing the Rangers.

      • Egelstein says:

        Getting Glass out of the lineup is not just about Glass, or just about his line. It has a ripple effect. Simply put, it translates to more talent on the ice for more minutes for all lines combined. Buch played 12:23 solid minutes last night IMO. Compare that to Glass’s okay 7:39 in game 3, and the “savings” in minutes alone presumably gave other lines more juice. I’ll take Buch’s game 4 over Tanner’s game 3 (or any game, really) eight days a week, personally. It may not have been the one key to the game last night nor am I arguing it was. It was one of a series of common sense changes AV made that combined to pay dividends, IMO. Unfortunately, many of us fans feel that such common sense moves have become the exception to the rule for AV for far too long now.

        • Chris F says:

          Oh, believe me I’m very happy with Buch, and I hope he stays in the lineup over Glass. It was the right decision.

          But, I’ve also been very happy with Glass, and I’m glad he got a chance to play and in doing so set an early tone to the series and scored a GWG. That, too, was the right decision.

          See what I’m getting at? It’s a bit too simple, not to mention revisionist, to claim adding Buchnevich was the obvious answer all series. Do we win game 1 without Glass?

          • Egelstein says:

            It isn’t revisionist from me, to note – I never wanted to see Glass in our 2016-2017 lineup and have not been shy about that! To give credit where credit is due though, he has been better than what I expected on the whole. Just to point out though – I’ve been firmly #TeamBuch all throughout this situation, haha.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        Thank you, F! One person changes the whole lineup. All 4 lines work well together. There were no hamstrings yesterday. The team played better than almost ever. Did you not notice the difference?
        Yes, the way the lineup was before we were doomed to fail. With the change, he put the team in in a position to succeed, believe it or not.
        Yes, it was the reason for the success for last night and tomorrow.
        It’s just not on persons removal, but a lineup change for every line.
        All that AV has to do is go back to the same lineup as before and we will lose.

        • Chris F says:

          Yes, I noticed how well the whole team played. Buchnevich was part of that, but a large part was probably the players, you know, not wanting to get embarrassed two games in a row.

          • Jack says:

            Yeah I guess you have a point Chris F. They FINALLY said we’re going to win one at home and end this streak that dates back to game 1 vs Tampa in 15.

            I lie because it has everything to o with taking out Glass and putting Buch in the top 9 that helped reconstruct lthe lines. I have a serious question to ask. Do you always play the lotto when you find a coin with it’s heads facing up?

  9. Chris F says:

    Is Grabner-Lindberg-Fast the best 4th line in hockey right now?

  10. Al Dugan says:

    It’s a game of bounces. Quickie’s goal off a bounce, Weber’s shot hits the iron and bounces straight out. If Weber’s goes in, the deflation in the building would have been huge and the chance to tie lost. But, it didn’t go in, so NYR tie it. Still, the charts show them as underdogs. But, a the pressure is on MTL to get their offense going. Top line for them with nothing. Max Pac with an invisible performance.

    And I think the Gallagher/Ott nuisance thing kind of gets ignored after awhile. They’re Gnats, but useless gnats. Let them Yap all they want. Just hit ignore!

    • Chris A says:

      Let’s not forget Montreal only scored last night because a puck “died” in front of the Rangers bench and the officials missed both team’s playing with 7 men a side.

      Luck and bounces always play a big part in the playoffs.

      Agree 100% on the ignore Ott/Shaw/Gallagher theme

      • Jack says:

        It’s definitely not the 2013 Shaw, I wouldn’t even put him in the category with the other two. He’s just waiting to have a reason to mug somebody so that it could light a fire under him to play his game. It must be tough to be away from Toews and to face guys who are just as small as he is but with more raw skills like Fast and Oscar and now Grabner’s speed.

  11. Leatherneck says:

    Buch for Glass was not the right move….Buch for Kreider would have been. The coach is the bottom line so his role is not being misrepresented. The special teams is all on him…period, if players are not performing then you bench them and play others.
    No, this coach is not the coach for this team, people defending him point to results….what results??? 0 Cups says it all, and that is the only result that matters.
    Under AV tell me how many easy playoff series wins have we had? Zilch zero none
    The Rangers must win the special teams battle or they will not win.

    • Rangers Rock says:

      Leatherneck, you need some leather softener. You right though. Our saboteur and Cheif can’t wait to play more games.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Every single series the Rangers won under Torts went the full seven. AV has two series wins as Rangers coach that went less than seven. So to imply going the distance is an AV thing is, as usual, ludicrous.

        The Rangers and Habs, two teams with virtually identical records, tied 2-2 in the series. Stop the presses!!!!! What a shock!!!!

        • Rangers Rock says:

          I agree, E3! You’re a leftist with a heart.
          Every game Tort had, we were underdogs.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            An underdog? Oh you mean in 2012 when, as the #1 seed, he barely got by the #8 seed Senators, barely got by a flawed Caps team, and then utterly blew it vs a poor Devils team in what was no doubt the worst Rangers playoff loss of the past decade?

    • Chris F says:

      Easy playoff series don’t exist.

    • Jack says:

      Closes coach who hasn’t won it all the way and hey somebody has to take 2nd place. Pretty easy by beating two different Pitts team while being down by 3 in one of the series. Beating the Caps off a faceoff loss with a open net and running through Philly yet still taking the series to game 7 all was pretty easy looking to me. Oh we did that with no true superstar forward. Take the hating goggles off and realize we had it better than every team in the East besides the team that has Crosby and Malkin in the top 6.

      Ps I hate him but I adore his system and would love it even more if actual puck movers could play with Mcd, Brady and B Smith on all 3 pairs.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      2015 Round 1 NYR v PIT…. there’s one for ya Leather.

      2014 Round 3 vs MTL could also have been significantly more difficult.

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Whoo wah, Leatherneck.

      “This is my rifle, this is my Gun…
      This is for fighting, this is for fun.”

      The Russian sniper for Boston Cream Pie Keider? Definitely.

      But how ’bout Brandon Pirri slotting in for Mopey Hayes?

      To sit our yard dog/exemplary teammate Tanner Glass isn’t just boggling, it’s self defeating. He’s punishing their D… So you sit him?

      I think if Rafael Diaz was still available AV would’ve suited him up ahead of St. Brendan, our sole bad-ass on the blue line.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        C’mon Fotiu, seriously? Sitting Glass is “mind-boggling”? Just like others who say sitting Buch is mind-boggling. Neither is mind-boggling. Both bring different things to the table and neither are essential pieces.

        Hayes has been a huge disappointment for weeks now, but I thought he played an energized game last night. Maybe, just maybe, he can build on it.

        Pirri? Seriously? He’s awful and will probably play in Europe next year with McIlrath and Clendening. :).

        • Jerry says:

          McIlrath will be on an NHL roster next season. And be a regular third pair right side D-man.That’s my prediction.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            He might. I’m not smart enough to make predictions on player development. It’s a total crap shoot.

            I believe this though–if you could assemble every NHL scout and exec and polled them on whether or not McIlrath will be an NHL player next year, I suspect more would say no than yes.

            It all depends on how hard he works to improve this off-season. Clearly today, the verdict is in from every NHL team–he is not an NHL player at the moment.

          • Peter says:

            He might be Jerry. But everyone’s assessment of him before was not that he never would make it, rather it was that he was not ready. He may be ready now and I am pulling for him. He is a good kid.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      And how many easy series did Torts win in NY? Zilch, zero, none.

      It’s not about AV or Torts. This core group is not that great. So here we are, in our usual death struggle of a series…tied at 2-2 with an offensive “attack” that doesnt produce.

      As for Glass over Kreider, look, I think Kreider is another in a long line of overrated supposed stars. No doubt. I’d bench him in the regular season for Glass. But there is no time to send messages here. Your star players (even if they are faux stars) have to deliver if we are going to win, and they cant deliver in the press box.

      Glass has been solid. I dont agree at all with RR that that singular move is why we won. We likely don’t win Game 1 without Glass. We won Game 4 because we played just about text book hockey, our defense played great, and Hank, the guy both you and RR have little use for, was brilliant yet again.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Totally agree, Fidel-Hugo Chavez-E3. (That was one of your more brief oratorios, though. You feeling okay? Somebody get Chairman Eddie a Pimm’s Cup.)

        Though I do take exception to your salient, third paragraph: at this juncture a benching has nothing to do with message sending, subtext, what have you.

        Kreider’s head is adrift in The Horse Latitudes. Somewhere far from the rink. His woman left him… The cleaning lady took his Teddy Bear.

        C’mon Eddie; get real here with old Number 27. The boy needs to sit because he just ain’t going.

        In sum, this could have, should have been his series: given his skill set, size, not to mention his history with Carey Price and Montreal’s faithful.

        That should have been the narrative here. Not his Disappearing Act.

        You and I both know that great rap, shaped by someone at our State Department, on PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat: “That Arafat never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

        Take it Chris Kreider. You own that now.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I think you mean Number 20, right? Unless you are talking about McDonagh instead of Kreider. 🙂

          I agree, he has been a dispointment thus far. I’m fine with Glass playing over a fringe player like Glass. If AV benched Kreider, even a struggling Kreider, for the likes of Glass, then I would have to side with Rock. And the idea of that would surely mean that I would need to seek out PaulRonty and seek therapy. (Just kidding RR). We have no chance whatsoever if Kreider/Miller/Hayes don’t get it going. Now is not the time to sit them. The summer should be the time to evaluate whether they are part of the long term solution here.

          Otherwise, brilliant stuff as usual. You are the best writer on the blog!

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Oops…meant Glass playing over Buch.

          • Fotiu is God says:

            Thank you for the kind words, Eddie.

            But my reference to 27 represented the number Nicky Fotiu wore.

            More to the point, as in you and I getting real.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Got it…should have realized what you meant!

              But still, I dont think a coach anywhere sits Kreider for Glass. That’s would be not just a bad move, but a firable one.

      • Jerry says:

        AV, had the most talented team in the NHL with Vancouver, yet his Stanley Cup total is still as you put it “Zilch, zero, none”.

        • Walt says:

          Jerry

          Your stealing my line, PLEASE, it makes too much sense, stop it!!!!!!!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Well, I cant argue with that. I have no comeback. 🙂

          But again, the point is that a long Rangers series is simply the MO of this team with two different coaches. It’s not about AV.

          As for no Cup, Coach Q had no Cup despite great teams in other cities. In StL, he was considered a failure. Keenan went years without a Cup until he found a team that could buy him whatever he wanted. Then after he won, he failed epically despite having very good teams, especially in StL.

          On the flip side, Torts won a Cup a long time ago and has been a pretty mediocre playoff coach since. Coach Babs won in Detroit long ago, but his last five years he couldn’t even make it out of the second round with very good teams. Sutter won two Cups and missed the playoffs 2 out of three seasons with real good talent. Crawford won a Cup and flamed out after that.

          Winning a Cup does not mean you will again, just like not having won doesnt mean you won’t. Give me a coach like AV that consistently gets my team to the playoffs year after year and I’ll take my chances.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        Nothing can be said to change your mind. No proof in the world is compelling enough. Motivation, no motivation can not be seen in your eyes. Lineup changes do nothing.
        All AV needs to do is Put Glass back in. Games 1 through 3 we did not deserve to win. Game 4 we did. What was the difference in those games? 1 Player and a shit load of line changes.
        They played motivated hockey because the coach put the team in a position to win which you can not comprehend. Talk about Bizarro World.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I totally disagree. We largely outplayed Montreal in Game 1 and for most of Game 2. They out played us in the third period of Game 2 and OT, as well as all of Game 3.

          We likely do NOT win Game 1 without Glass.

          The problem is that the supposed stars you seem to think we have rarely play that way. So every game is a slog, which requires our goalie to do superhuman things. Does anyone believe we can win a playoff game if Hank has an off game and allows three or more goals? Highly unlikely.

          That is the issue…not Glass vs Buch.

          • Rich S says:

            3E,
            We finally agree……I truly believe the rangers are MORE talented than the canadians…..I predicted the rangers wining the series 4-1games!
            I did not think some our top players ‘ my untouchables’ would play God Awful!
            That being said we are 17 seconds away from being up 3 games to 1.
            I really thought we would dominate the series. I can see us winning the next 2 games handily, if our talent plays up to my expectations!
            What would you think of nash at center? Does his best work in middle of the ice. Seems to like the front of the net the past 2 games!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Rich-

              I most definitely don’t believe the Rangers are more talented. These are two very evenly matched teams. But the difference is we have a make believe “beast” (as you put it) in Miller, and they have a legit REAL beast in Weber. Man, is that guy scary! Greatness is hard to hold back, and when you have two pretty even teams, a guy like that with the puck at the point late in the game is a very scary proposition. We have no threat like that, not even close.

              That being said, of course we can win. We just cant expect Hank and the defense to carry this team every bleepin game and series for the past seven years it seems. Our forwards are supposed to be a strength. Yet they’ve arguably been the weakest link on the team. That cant continue if we expect to make a run.

              But if a few of them get hot, then i agree, look out!

              As for Nash at center, no way. That’s not a move you can make mid-series unless you are riddles with injuries.

              The team is the team. AV has had to juggle and shuffle to get some semblance of production. at this point, all you can do is keep rolling these guys out and hope they start to click.

              • Rich S says:

                I meant we agreed that we outplayed them and could have won game 2. I also agree Glass was important in the 1 st 2 games….and that hank has kept us in all….
                Weber is a beast, but being 5 years older than Subban who also has a great game……..I dont make the trade, although its made them better right now….
                Admittedly though, if our forwards -mika, kreider, hayes stepan [ miller and buch not so bad] played like they did the 1st couple of months this series would be about over. We are in it and 4 of our top forwards have been terrible so far……yet canadians are playing the best they have all year under julien…No?

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                No doubt…reason for optimism. But I need to see the offense show up–something they haven’t done in over two months and rarely do in the playoffs the past 7 years. So I’m understandably skeptical.

    • Peter says:

      Buch in for Kreider would have been asinine. Bench your leading goal scorer during the playoffs for a kid that has hardly scored and never played Stanley Cup hockey before. Right. Makes sense-if you’re drunk.

  12. Peter says:

    It is a far from perfect team. They have to play at the top of their game to win in the playoffs, that is for sure. Even if they do that, they lack the talent in some critical areas necessary to ensure winning a playoff series. It is with that understanding that I watch the games and cheer them on.

    Because I know they are flawed, the only thing that annoys me is lack of effort. If they lose while giving 100%, then I will chalk it up to the better team winning. I won’t whine and demand the heads of the management or the player(s) I deemed to have not played well. I don’t assault the character of the coaches or the players. That is, in my opinion, juvenile. For heaven’s sake, hockey is a great game, enjoy the games!

    • Richter1994 says:

      Let’s be honest, Montreal is not exactly an elite team. They can’t score, their back end other than Weber is extremely suspect, but they have an all-world goalie. This is the “easy” series for the Rangers.

      Who knows what happened on Easter Sunday. It was a total no show. The first shift of Tuesday’s game you could see a big difference, thankfully.

      I think Brendan Smith needs to be re-signed unless the price tag is more than $3.5M per.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        They are not. The problem is, unfortunately, is that neither are we. We just have people out here who like to think we are.

        However, IF our “Untouchable, elite, beasts” show up at some point, and Hank doesnt have to stand on his head just to give us a chance, then yes, we can win this series.

        But still, there is the spectre of a true beast teeing it up from the point on a 6 on 5 late….. Ahhhhh! Just woke up from a nightmare that seems like it’s a premonition that could well come true. But hopefully not.

        They have a truly great player out there. We don’t (Hank and Price cancel each other out in this discussion)

        • Richter1994 says:

          Actually very true, these teams are mirror images of each other, if you think about it.

          Probably the best non goalie on either team is Pac. McD and Weber are fairly equal in ability and impact to their respective teams.

          Pretty even overall. Even if the Rangers win tonight, are we guaranteed a series win at home on Saturday? Hardly.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            To me, the best non-goalie on the ice is Weber. He is truly a beast. When he has the puck at the point, with that shot of his???? Scary. Even Hank says he feels like his glove hand is moving in slow motion when he shoots. I like McDonagh but I think Weber is a far superior player.

            • Richter1994 says:

              I like Weber a lot but if given the choice I would take Pac. Getting 35 goals on a team that can’t score is very impressive and says a lot about the player.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Get it done, shadow GM/Richter. A D-man… with bite… on our back line? Too good to be true.

        And please, paisan, no way to your man Shattenkirk. He’s been spectacularly mediocre in The Caps-Leafs series.

        His game, his poise, all seem to have been eclipsed by lesser known quantities: Nate Schmidt, for one. St. Lou made the smart if not terrific move cutting Shattenkirk loose. Now let the Devils or Isles overpay for him.

        That aside, Richter, start rethinking that blockbuster with Winnipeg and Jacob Trouba.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Adrian Dater tweet: “Everyone knows that Shatty is signing with the Rangers.” And that is on top of the 2 independent sources that told me that this is a “done deal.” Sorry bro.

          But he’s not enough. Still need that other top D man. You know I’m on the Trouba bandwagon and to me, just about any Ranger should be available for that trade. My friend spoke toa Winnipeg beat writer and the beat guy said that Trouba is no longer asking out. That could be a smoke screen to raise the trade value this offseason, though just about every team will be on that trade if Jacob is available.

          I like Smith. Not the greatest but he’s “good enough” for 3rd pair and I do like the edge he plays with. But no more than $3.5M per.

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