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Thoughts heading into Game 6

May 9, 2017, by
mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers are facing their first elimination game of the postseason tonight, down 3-2 to Ottawa with Game 6 tonight at MSG. To be bluntly honest, this series should be over already, but the Rangers have been unable to hold a lead in two games, thus giving the Senators a ton of momentum and life in a series that they have led for just 13 minutes. But them’s the breaks in the playoffs. Naturally, I have some thoughts.

1. Of course I have to start with Alain Vigneault. I stand behind my assertion that this series would be over if AV got out of his own way. He was quoted stating that experience only matters if you’re executing, but the experience he is relying on is not executing. It’s time to change things up. If AV adjusts his deployments, doesn’t staple Brady Skjei to the bench, and sits Marc Staal if/when defending a lead, then the Rangers have a legitimate shot. If not, then the players need to outplay their coaches mistakes.

2. Speaking of the players, they all need to execute. Rob brought up a very good point about the tying goal in Game 5, which shouldn’t had happened if the forwards (Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello, Tanner Glass) did their jobs and stopped the cross-ice pass from Erik Karlsson. Those little plays are the ones that stop the puck from winding up int he back of your net. It’s what the Rangers did so well in Games 3 and 4, and what they failed to do in Games 2 and 5. A total team commitment to defense, meaning no one takes a night off, is needed.

3. Also noted by Rob in his post, this team needs to rally behind Zuccarello’s quotes that everyone needs to be in desperation mode. The fact that this needs to be said astounds me, since every playoff game should be desperation mode. That’s the only way you can close out a team. Every single player out there needs to remember to play on every shift, which is sad that this needs to be said.

4. Henrik Lundqvist is going to have to bail his teammates out. They are going to make mistakes. That we know. However he is going to have to make every save he should, most of the saves he shouldn’t, and some of the saves he has no business making. It’s the sad reality for Henrik Lundqvist, who is dealing with a blue line that is not only old and slow, but not even deployed properly.

5. The good news is that Ottawa has led for about 13 minutes this series. The Rangers have, for the most part, controlled the series. But therein lies the beauty of the playoffs. You don’t necessarily need to be the better team in the series. If you have a little bit of luck –a goal from an impossible angle that deflects twice, two posts keeping the puck out late thus allowing you to tie the game, a tying goal that deflects off three players– you can win the series. The Rangers haven’t gotten those bounces yet. Hopefully that changes soon.

6. Just win.

"Thoughts heading into Game 6", 3 out of 5 based on 12 ratings.
Categories : Playoffs


  1. Richter1994 says:

    The players have to play and the coaches have to coach like Games 3 and 4.

    End of story.

  2. Jerry says:

    Dave, your comments in bullet point #1 are spot on!

  3. SalMerc says:

    Here is the scary scenario; 4 minutes to go and we are up 4-2. They start the pressure. The final 4 minutes determine the fate of the season and what the Rangers look like for years to come. I won’t forecast.

    Enjoy the game.

    • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

      So much of the second guessing regarding AVs deployment of players at the end of the game sounds all too much like baseball’s Fallacy of the Assumed Run. There, if a runner is tagged at second trying to stretch a single or steal a base and the next batter gets a hit, it’s often assumed that the baserunner who was out at 2d cost his team a run.

      Same here. No matter who’s on the ice when a goal is scored late in the game, it’s assumed that no goal would have been scored if other players had been deployed. So, if McD had been on the ice with 1:26 to play, Brassard wouldn’t have scored. But if he’s playing with 1:26 to play, who’s playing with 0:26 to play? And who’s to say Ottawa wouldn’t have scored then?

      Like all coaches, AV can be second-guessed and certainly should be for shortening his bench in Game 2. But constantly blaming him for not having exactly the “right” players on the ice at exactly the “right” moments, and thereby preventing any goals from being scored, is all too often just 20/20 hindsight — and the Fallacy of the Assumed Save.

      • supermaz says:

        Your logic is flawed, if the correct players ass is stapled to the bench in the last 5 minutes, no goal is scored.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          “No goal is scored”.

          Seriously? You went into an alternate universe and saw this unfold and know this for a fact?

          AV has tried three different deployments. All three failed. The only guy who hasn’t been out there is Skjei. Who I will point out many on this blog thought was not very good defensively yet.

          So you are saying that, all AV had to do is play Skjei and right now, we are relaxing and getting ready for the ECF?

          Uhhhhh….sorry, ain’t buying it.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        Wrong! If you don’t have your best defensive players in the last 2 minutes, you put your team in a position to lose.
        It is more like basketball. Put a small guard in the center position and expect no one to dunk on you.
        Players are specialized. Left, Righ,t forward, defense, special teams, draw, and others.
        Please rethink what coaches do,
        Oh, I get it the Twilight Zone. You got me.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          So Rock, you do realize that in basketball, you can call multiple time outs and set things up whenver you want as long as you have the ball. Last I checked, that was different than hockey.

          So on a team that has a weak defense, with hardly a plethora of great options, who exactly should be out there for the final two minutes? And who should sit?

          Two minutes is a long, long, long time in hockey. Especially with a team that seems to have trouble clearing the zone and gaining possession so that fresh legs can get out there. That’s much more the issue here than the actual deployment.

          • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

            Thanks E3. I’m glad you got my point, as I assume you would.

    • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

      oops. This was supposed to be a stand alone comment and not a response to your post.

  4. Peter says:

    Sorry Dave, but the real truth is that the series would be over if the Rangers gave the effort in games 1, 2 and 5 that they gave in the 3rd and 4th games. Pinning a possible loss in the series on AV and not on the players on the ice is in my opinion the worst analysis possible of what transpired thus far. A few bounces their way would have helped too.

    • Jerry says:

      Hi Peter, while I could not agree more with you on the effort, or more precisely at times, ‘lack thereof’, I am not buying the bounce, good or bad narrative. To be completely objective, both teams have had their respective share of both good and bad bounces.

      • Peter says:

        I agree Jerry. Greater effort and better execution would have put them in position to survive a bad bounce or two. No doubt about that.

    • roadrider says:

      This, The Rangers are not behind in this series because they’ve been unlucky or Ottawa has been lucky. They’re behind because of their inability to close out two games that they were in good or great position to win with only a few minutes left. And those games were only close enough for AV’s bad deployments and Ottawa’s lucky bounces to make a difference because in each of those games they blew 2-goal leads (multiple times in Game 2) by failing to consolidate leads and letting Ottawa back into the games by poor defensive play and, to a lesser extent, mediocre goal keeping.

      I don’t even attribute the Game 1 loss to bad luck. The bad guys scored off a lucky bounce with 4 minutes left? Tough cookies, You had all game to score enough goals so that one lucky goal wouldn’t make a difference – you didn’t. And you had 4+ minutes to score and tie it up. You didn’t get it done. That’s not an indictment of character – the other guys outplayed you in that respect. And the other guys managed to tie up two games in the final minutes so what’s your excuse? Bad luck? I don’t think so.

      It’s irrelevant who outplayed who for the first 56 or 58 minutes (especially in statistical measures that don’t count on the scoreboard). Last time I checked the games were still 60 minutes long (in regulation anyway). If the game is still close enough for lucky breaks to make a difference did you really outplay them?

      Most of you on this site are too young to remember the classic 1961 film The Hustler. In one scene the young up-and-coming pool hustler Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) tells the gamble Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) that he beat the legendary player Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) for $18,000 before getting drunk and losing. Gordon tells him:

      Look, you wanna hustle pool, don’t you? This game isn’t like football. Nobody pays you for yardage. When you hustle you keep score real simple. The end of the game you count up your money. That’s how you find out who’s best. That’s the only way.

      Well, in hockey you count up your goals at the end of the game. Everything else is just talk.

      • Jerry says:

        EXACTLY my point Road. Bounces are bs. It seems some only see the “bad” bounces attributing to goals against their team, while ignoring the “bad” bounces against the opposition.

        • roadrider says:

          Yeah, like Karlsson not being 100% or Anderson letting in some pretty soft goals. Oh, and there also seems to be an unstated assumption that Scarface (Guy Boucher) has not made any coaching blunders.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            He hasn’t. Neither did Trotz early in their series or Sully in the last two games. Neither did Yeo, or Coach Q. Or Carlyle or McLellan. The only coach that has made mistakes is our coach apparently. 🙂

            • Rangers Rock says:

              Because our coach is a stupid head.

            • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

              Your reason, E3, that it is acceptable to give AV pass on, for example, end game deployments, all because…

              ‘other coaches do stupid things too!’


              I gotta say – that makes no sense.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                I never said he deserves a pass. It is fair to critique AV’s deployment. But if you do that, you also have to look at every single shift, and ascertain the effectiveness of the deployment at that time. I suspect you will find he’s made far, far more good choices than bad–just like the six other coaches still alive at the moment.

                This is not baseball or football where there is a stoppage before the next play occurs, and you can set up EXACLTY what you’d like to do and who you’d like to have out there.

                Last I checked, AV didn’t bench a Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Brian Leetch here. He’s tried different combos. Nothing has worked. Why? Because ultimately, our team is flawed and lacks that kind of shutdown talent. Add to that that it seems the whole league has figured out best practices in 5 on 6 situations and what you have is what we’ve gotten–lots of teams having troubles hanging onto leads late.

                I love Skjei and his upside, but if you honestly believe that playing Skjei or not would alter the outcome of any of those games–sorry, I ain’t buying what you are selling.

              • AZgene4240 says:

                The goal that tied the game in Game 5 by Ottowa could have not have even happened if the three wingers (Stepan, Glass, and the third Ranger players) stopped the cross ice pass in the neutral zone, than there would have a been a high probability we are playing to close out the series. The Forwards need to be better at fore checking and back checking, especially the play in the neutral zone.

              • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

                I’m not saying he doesn’t make good decisions. I’m not even saying, relative to the madness that goes on in the NHL, that there aren’t much (& many) worse options currently out there.

                I’m just saying that, personally, I have a very difficult time accrediting a man with anything (even when it’s credit given rightfully so) when he….

                …. after all that has transpired in his tenure…

                …. still considers ‘playing conservatively with a lead’ to be a good idea, despite all evidence explicitly to the contrary (the five blown two-goal leads we then lost in OT, for instance)…..

                Or the fact that he thought it was an excellent idea to deploy GLASS in an end-game situation (among other players who are clearly shadows of what they once were).

                That’s what annoys (the living piss) out of me with this guy. A COUPLE OF MINOR CHANGES could make Alien Bingo legitimately one of the best coaches ever to show up in NY…. yet, the painfully obvious problems that most of us here could fix CONTINUE TO ELUDE HIM!


              • Reenavipul says:


                All you have to do is look at D pair deployments inside the last 5 minutes of a 2 goal lead and even Helen Keller would see a pattern.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Dude, how do you get ital?

        I want ital. I want boldface.

        I want Brendan Smith canonized as St Brendan.


      I would agree with this if he didn’t keep trotting out the same guys (Girardi, Staal, Holden, Glass), while doing the same exact thing (rope-a-dope hockey) in these crunch times.

      • roadrider says:

        AV’s deployments are not a luck issue. And if the Rangers had played better for the majority of Games 2 and 5 (i.e., not coughing up two-goal leads earlier in the game – multiple times in Game 2 ) then AV could have put some figure skaters or ice-dancing pairs out there in the last two minutes and it wouldn’t have helped Ottawa any.


          For the record, I never said anything whatsoever about the term ‘luck’.

          This is the problem, stated another way. TurtleTime is still TurtleTime, and whoever was out there (during said rendition of TurtleTime) is, sadly, as you correctly pointed out, not as important as the fact that TurtleTime is a thing……

          You know what is, however, an ‘AV issue’?

          TURTLETIME (and the continuation of it)!

          • roadrider says:

            My entire post was about the luck issue – which I don’t buy. Your comment was

            I would agree with this if he didn’t keep trotting out the same guys

            So you’re actually agreeing with me that the Rangers’ failures were not a matter of luck. That’s why I pointed it out. And yeah, the turtle time thing is also not a matter of luck. Its some combination of AV’s coaching and decisions made on the ice (icings) by players as I’ve pointed out repeatedly in comments on other posts about this series.

            • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

              Sorry, looks like I either misread your post, or was responding to the wrong one (maybe what Peter initially had to say?).

              Either way, yeah, regardless of what happens tonight, this is on them.

  5. Walt says:

    As they used to say in the old neighborhood, sh*t, or get off the pot!!!!!!

    No more excuses from anyone, players, coaches, staff, goalie, etc…..It has to be a team effort, win, or lose, they all have to give there best. If it’s not good enough, well what can we say that hasn’t been said already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Walt says:

    While Vigneault can extol the virtues of his veterans’ experience all he wants, he must coach to the moment. Credit where credit is due, but there are no credit cards for elimination games. If Oscar Lindberg is the best center, then he must get commensurate ice time. If Michael Grabner continues to light it up, then No. 40 once and for all should get power-play time. If Jimmy Vesey plays with the same effectiveness and swagger as he did in Game 5, then Vigneault needs to ride the young man from Harvard. If Brady Skjei is outplaying his elders, then by all means, the coach needs to dole out heaps of ice time to the rookie.

    The above came from an article by Brooks this morning, sums up everything we all have been clamoring for!!!!!!!!!!!

    Marv, the next move is on you………………..


      I still don’t know what marv ever did to be conflated with AV.

      Leave the poor guy alone, Walt!!!


        PS, we still need an edit button!

      • Walt says:

        Agree, and also funny!!!!!!!! Reason is Marv Levy went to the Super Bowl 4, or 5 times, and came up empty, while AV went at least two, maybe three, I’m not sure, but still came up empty. Poor Marv just the same!!!!!!

  7. avsucks says:

    i want them to win i really do. If they cant get the puck out of there end, which has been the problem then its over. Let enjoy the game. LGR

  8. Chris F says:

    Hey, Dave, off-topic but is there a site script issue that you’re aware of lately?

    For about a week, I’ve been having lots of problems loading the website. Sometimes the article loads but the comments won’t, other times the site just freezes and I can’t scroll. Could certainly be an issue with my phone, but just wanted to run it by you guys to see if there is something else going on.

    • sherrane says:

      Mobile? Clear the cache. (on an Android, go into Settings. Then More -> Storage. Click Cached Data and clear it).

    • Dave says:

      Clear browsing history/cache, as sherrane said. It’s working for me across multiple computers/mobile devices.

    • Rangers Rock says:

      Dave since people are off topic. I do not get emails telling me someone replied to a post.

  9. Chris F says:

    Need an early goal to get the crowd into the game and calm that nervous energy.

    Need players to get the ice-time that their play tonight warrants. Forget everything that led up to this point, play the guys that earn the time tonight.

    With that said, need at least a couple of our best players to play like they’re our best players (Hank, Nash, Kreider, etc).

    Need Buchnevich instead of Glass. All hands on deck.

    Finally, need a complete strategy for how to close out the game. Everyone needs to know their role, and the coaching staff has to do whatever is in their power to get the best guys on the ice in the dying minutes if we’re protecting a close lead.

    Let’s do this! LGR!

    • Fotiu is God says:

      “All hands on deck”?

      Then why, or how, Chris, do you blithely reduce this hyper critical roster choice to a binary: Buch for Tanner Glass?

      You’re one of the deeper minds here. Reflexively you should be able to name any number of flatlining candidates for being in street clothes tonight rather than Tanner Glass.

      I’m a yes to Buchnevich. But not at the expense of a warrior who’s done nothing more than overachieve… And contribute.

      • Chris F says:

        I’ve been pleased with Glass, for the most part, and have generally been OK with him playing over Buchnevich when he has because over the course of a series you sometimes need different inputs depending on the situation and I think AV has threaded that needle fairly effectively.

        Now we’re at that critical cross-road where we’re in a literal must win situation, so my philosophy is ice the most talented roster you can at this point.

        Buchnevich is immensely talented, and God knows he’s got to be hungry at this point. It could come down to one play, one guy making something happen that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Buchnevich could be a game changer with his talent and his desire to prove something tonight.

        So let’s agree, he should play.

        Now a winger needs to sit for that to happen.

        For obvious reasons that I don’t think I need to elaborate on, I think it goes without saying that none of Nash, Zuccarello, Fast, or Grabner should sit in an elimination game.

        After Vesey’s dominant game 5, and overall effort throughout the playoffs, I think he’s earned the right to play.

        So that leaves one of Kreider, Miller, or Glass.

        While neither Kreider or Miller has been producing nearly as much as they should, both have been trending in the right direction these past few games, in my opinion. Beside that, they bring the sort of offensive component that you simply can’t sideline in an elimination game. There’s an argument to made that an example could have been sent by benching one or both of them earlier in the playoffs, but it’s all on the line right now. As I said, we have to go with our most talented roster tonight.

        That leaves Glass as the odd man out in this situation. Not because he has nothing to offer and not because he hasn’t been effective, although I thought game 5 was by far his worst of the playoffs, but because this is not the moment to be sending messages (benching Kreider or Miller) or going with a 7-10 minute energy guy over a supreme talent (Buchnevich).

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Mrs. Kreider called from the family home in the exurbs of Boston.

          His pet turtle, or kitten’s gotten loose. Chris can’t play tonight.

          Dress someone who cares. Who plays with anger. Someone who understands what this all means. This stage. This Moment. This threshold. Dress Adam Graves.


        I have a much better idea. Since the NYR (apparently) need their ‘security blanket’ sitting there on the bench…..

        Why don’t we scratch one of 5 / 18 / 22 & run 13 F / 5 D?

        Addition by subtraction (I have tremendous respect for 5 / 18, but they’re clearly on their last legs professionally) with a whole extra heaping pile of addition?

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


          Sorry to say, but that’s a non-starter. It’s one thing to go with 7D/11F. 5D/13F would be NUTS! You would burn out your defenders, you would be toast come overtime, and you are one injury on defense away from an workable crisis.

          Want to get yourself fired? That would surely seal it.

          As for the debate between Chris and Fotiu, as i said, on this one, I’m Switzerland. There is a logic to playing Buch. There is a logic to playing Glass. However, disagreeing with Fotiu, NO WAY can the choice be anything other than binary. There is no one else you can bench here.


            On the other hand, look at what Quenneville did in CHI. He ran 2 pairings for 53-55 minutes a night!

            Sure, it could backfire (nasty OT game, injuries, etc)….. but… I gotta be honest, that word is also precisely how you could describe what he’s been doing here trotting out the usual suspects all (& at the end of) every game.

          • Reenavipul says:

            Guess what? He’s running McD out there non stop anyway, team would be better off having him pair in alternate shifts with 76 & 5 if he’s doing it anyway.

            This isn’t post-grad level game theory we’re writing about.

          • Fotiu is God says:

            Don’t ever f++k with Fotiu, Eddie-x-three.

            Behn Wilson learned that hard lesson.


            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Great memories!

              But I have no intention of dropping the gloves with you! 🙂

              • Fotiu is God says:


                First, the heavy, out of nowhere left.

                Then the rights.

                It should’ve been Bobby Clarke on the receiving end.


  10. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Losing a playoff series which shouldn’t be lost will make for a long summer. Despite our 2-3 situation, I am still optimistic because I think both groups know who the better team is (when they want to be). Obviously we all know how up and down the Rangers have been this year, so I can only be cautiously optimistic about games 6 and 7. Hopefully they show some urgency early and some composure late in the game. Hopefully our coach can better manage his bench, because no matter your opinion of AV there is objectively room for improvement in that dept. Hopefully we’re in a position to have this same conversation 2 days from now because I’d relish the chance to upset either Pit or Was next round.

    • SalMerc says:

      The first 5 and last 5 minutes of this game could tell the story of the season and the off-season. We need to show a relentless will to overpower Ottawa, with a killer instinct that has (IMO) been absent. Is that the coaches fault of the players fault?

      All I know is that there are players AV has relied upon that have failed him in key situations. Can the old dog learn a new trick tonight are does he coach a team of all old dogs?

    • Peteri says:

      I am optimistic, cautiously, as well Hatrick. I expect to see the Rangers team we saw in games 3 and 4 show up tonight. If they bring that effort, I am confident about their chances. Yes, AV needs to manage his bench better. I just object to the narrative that places him at the center of the team’s defeats. What the players do on the ice for 55 minutes matters far more than who is on the ice for the final minutes.

      If they show up tonight as I expect, they will going back to Ottawa for game 7.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        I agree with you… it’s just frustrating to see poor process influencing games especially considering how thin the margin for error can be. Why not put yourself in the best position to win? If our guys come out like gangbusters tonight, the microscope on the coach is removed. But if it’s another close game, then the decisions by the coach will remain a focal point. At this level (best league in the world) that’s just how it goes.

        After how we dominated 3 and 4, I’m still baffled that Ottawa escaped game 5.

        • SalMerc says:

          When you loosen you grip on your opponents throat, this is what can happen. Every team plays hard until they hear a whistle. We play in preparation for a whistle with a lead. That is the difference that got us in this predicament.

          If guys like Kreider, JT, Stepan (yea the guy who had words with Hank) and Hayes lead by example and play hard, we win.

  11. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Past is not prologue obviously, but there is ONE reason why we can be optimistic tonight–

    Henrik Lundqvist.

    The last 20 elimination games– 15-5 1.74 .945

    The last 11 elimination games at home– 10-1 1.05. .965. ASTOUNDING

    (We actually had someone who posted yesterday that Hank is the ultimate “choke artist”. I won’t embarrass him by identifying him by name, but that post might actually be the number one choice for a new BSB award for the MBP Award–Most Brainless Post for 2016-17!).

    Hank is the best big game goalie in Rangers history and one of the greatest EVER to play in league history. As Stepan says, he will be getting his “Hank” on for this one!

    The big question is whether our candidates for the Rangers Bart Simpson Award, which is given to the Rangers biggest underachievers (that would be Kreider, Miller, Hayes and Stepan) will actually make a big impact tonight when it matters most. If history is any guide, given the choice between the four, I’d gamble on Kreider and Stepan coming up big. Miller and Hayes thus far have proven to be perennial playoff pushovers so I wouldn’t bet a plugged nickel on either of them. But gee, wouldn’t it be nice if our untouchable elite beasts showed up? Tonight would be a good time.

    I’m neutral on whether Glass or Buch should play. We can take AV to the woodshed all we want for his deployments, but his instincts about when to switch it up between the two have been bang on. I’m good either way. That won’t likely win on lose the game tonight anyway.

    I predict another nail biter–a 3-2 Rangers win with Hank doing what he normally does–steal a game to force a Game 7.

    • Ray says:

      Glass will and should play. Buch really did nothing when in the lineup and Glass has looked pretty good. In fact, and I don’t understand this, he looks a lot faster than he used to. From a practical perspective, I can’t imagine a world in which I thought Glass was the right choice and AV opted for the rookie instead.

      In defense of Miller, he looked really good in games 3 and 4

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        He did. And Hayes and Kreider have had their moments too. But “moments” aren’t going to cut it right now. How about a 2 goal/2 assist game just ONCE from one of these overrated “Untouchables”? If these guys are as good as we’ve been lead to believe, then we can’t be focused on small “moments”. This is the time for big, difference making results. Can they do it?

        • Walt says:


          How about your untouchables like Daisy Stepan, who has been invisible all series long, and does anything to avoid contact. How is it that the kids get railed on by you constantly, but never a word about your boys, Dan, Staal, Daisy, and at times during this series even Mac Truck. I guess your vision is failing you, please take off those rose colored glasses, and or get real, your group that is defended by you hasn’t done squat as well!!!!!!

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


            I think you are being a bit unfair here. Please re-read my comments above. Do I not say that Stepan has been among the biggest underachievers?

            That being said, there are relative levels of underachievement.

            Stepan 2-4-6
            Kreider 2-1-3
            Hayes 0-3-3
            Miller 0-3-3

            By comparison to the “untouchables”, Stepan should be up for the Conn Smythe!

            As for the rest, sorry, but Girardi has had far more good moments than bad. Staal? I agree, not good. McDonagh? Up and down.

            Look, the point I’m trying to make is, this is a flawed roster. We have all known this from the beginning. So why anyone should be surprised that we are on the brink of elimination on May 9th is beyond my ability to understand. By most prognostications, we weren’t supposed to be playing May hockey at all!

            Girardi and Staal are what they are. Nothing we can do about that. McDonagh can be better. Stepan too. But the guys who have the ability to be GREAT are Miller, Hayes and Kreider (and Nash too, if he is healthy). And they haven’t been anywhere close to being great.

            That’s the issue here. If even one of them can take over a game, EVERYTHING changes IMO.

            • Walt says:


              Why not just say the entire team is playing well below par, and leave it at that, instead of the kids always getting the short end. They all are playing poor, that’s a fact, and the coach has made many questionable moves, that’s a fact, but the same questionable moves are made over, and over, with the same results, we lose games by those mistakes.

              I’m not defending the kids as much as you won’t get on Step’s case, who has been lousy, yet he gets all the PP time, is sent out there to defend when he can’t skate, won’t check, but isn’t criticized at all by you, but the so called untouchables are, that’s bogus.

              Bottom line, everyone who has heart belongs out there if they are performing, if not, sit them. No more favorites, there’s too much on the line for the pylons to be out there, getting caught out of position, and being scored upon. Someone posted that the pylon twins have been on the ice for 13 of the 15 goals against, but the dip stick for a coach insists on putting them out there time, and again.

              One of the main reasons we keep getting face offs deep in our zone is due to icing, why? Well it’s simple, both the twins can’t skate a lick, so they ice the puck. Why not put Brady out there, he can lug the puck out of the zone, relieve Hank of the pressure, and then the coach can make necessary changes with players as needed. No, he feels comfortable with the twins, and would rather lose a game than trust a kid, dummy that he is!!!!!!!!!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                The reason I focus on them is because what I just said…..the guys with the greatest upside on this team are Kreider, Miller and Hayes. Relative to their abilities, no three players have underachieved more. They are rarely if ever taken to task here, while Stepan is destroyed out here. They have the ability, seemingly to be difference makers. Stepan can be good. Those other guys CAN be great.

                They need to be much, much better. If they aren’t, we are in trouble.


          This is true, we can argue over coach *insert favorite quip here* until the end of time…. but if guys like THE KREIDER don’t show up (and we continue to get ‘a kreider’ instead, for example)…. then yeah, it’s over.

    • Reenavipul says:

      How did Hank do in his last elimination game against a Boucher coached team?

  12. pas44 says:

    Patrick summed it up well.

    When this team entered the playoffs I didn’t expect them to get past Montreal, I hoped we played hard and when down fighting though. Now past those losers I started to think we could beat the Sens and that would have made this post season brighter for me. Now seeing where the series has gone, anything less then advancing to the ECF would be hard to handle….

    I’m cooked, at this point it’s all noise, I am praying to see a game 7 and a win!




  13. Scott{Nova Scotia} says:


  14. Reenavipul says:

    Experience only matters if you know what to do with it.

    AV, I’m looking at you.

  15. Blue Seat says:

    I don’t start watching the Yankees until the Rangers’ season is over, and all things considered, that is fast approaching. The conduct of the coach and some core players is confusing. His deployment of players that can’t do the job, do, and his deployment of players that can do the job, don’t. Unfortunately, the Rangers’ roster carries more players that can do the job. Shouldn’t that be a good thing?

  16. Rich S. says:

    I am surprised at what I read from some of you fans…..
    Let me get this straight …..
    — in 3 playoff games so far against habs and senators we had 1 or 2 goal leads with minutes or less left and coach decides to play his SLOWEST and WORST DEFENSIVE players such as stall, girardi, holden and stepna and glass while benching his quickest and best defensive players—nash, sjkel, smith, fast, lindberg, zucc, miller etc….
    — while also knowing stall and girardi have been on ice for 13 of 15 goals senators scored!!!!
    THATS THE F!@#$%^G COACH’S FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!
    You cant blame the players who are sitting on the bench when they should be playing!!!!!!
    Would Bill belichek play a backup and put tom brady on the bench??? in the final minutes of a game ???????
    This is why AV will never win a cup no matter how good a roster he has!!!!!

    • Spozo says:

      Well let’s actually looks at some facts from the 3 late game goals against that you seem to have broken down completely.

      Game 2 against Montreal-Holden and Staal on defense and Grabner, Hayes, Miller on ice for the goal
      Game 2 against Ottawa-Mcdonagh and Girardi on defense and Grabner, Hayes, Fast on ice for goal
      Game 5 against Ottawa-Smith and Staal on defense and Step, Zuke, Glass on ice (after an icing so AV couldn’t change if he wanted to.

      So rethink who you say AV is benching please.


        Game 2 against Montreal- ‘HODOR’ and ‘STAAL’ on defense and Grabner, Hayes, Miller on ice for the goal

        Game 2 against Ottawa- Mcdonagh and ‘GIRARDI’ on defense and Grabner, Hayes, Fast on ice for goal

        Game 5 against Ottawa- Smith and ‘STAAL’ on defense and Step, Zuke, ‘GLASS’ on ice

        I’ve left the problems in all ‘CAPS’

        Guys this isn’t hard stuff. Note how ‘the usual suspects’ keep appearing in these discussions.

        • Spozo says:

          It was more of a response for Rich who bitched about Zuke, Miller, and Fast, and Smith being benched late in the game….. something that’s clearly false.

          And for the record, I don’t think you put Girardi on the list of problems for these playoffs.


            While G has been good (per his standards), that doesn’t excuse the fact that we can do better. Again, I have a lot of respect for 5 & 18, but, they should never be put out there when the game is on the line.

            Hell, it’s not fair to them either…. they keep getting flak for failing in these situations, but it’s hard to say who has truly failed here – them, or the coach for not making the adjustments that were appropriate, say, 6 months ago.

            Now it’s simply dereliction of duty on his part.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


      You seem to relish living in the world of the “extremes”–

      “AV will never win a Cup”–same thing was said about Coach Q. Same thing is speculated about every coach and player until they do.

      “Miller, Hayes and Kreider are untouchable, elite beats”

      “Stepan is HORRIBLE and should be benched.”

      And on and on it goes.

      The reality is, the fact that AV has not won a Cup doesn’t mean he won’t, and the fact that a coach like Torts or whomever has won a Cup doesn’t mean he ever will again. The same thing was said about Joe Torre in baseball. It’s a ridiculous overstatement.

      I’m not saying deployment doesnt matter or shouldn’t be questioned here. It’s more than fair game. But you and others have totally overblown this. And I suspect, sub-consciously at least, you are doing so because you cant admit that the guys you were drooling over, calling them the best young forwards in Rangers history, have been a colossal disappointment for over two and a half months now (and from a playoff perspective, Miller and Hayes have ALWAYS been playoff duds–at least to this point. Is that acceptable to you? And how exactly is any of that the coach’s fault?)

      Look at every other playoff roster right now. Just about every team that is advancing is getting top contributions from either their best players or from other players that are having spectacular runs (like Pageau). While we may have balance and depth, somewhere along the way, you need one or two guys to play like the “elite untouchable beasts” you keep suggesting they are.

      So if the Rangers do lose this series, sure, AV will get some criticism and rightfully so. But in the end of the day, if this is the best our guys can do, then we really don’t deserve to make it to the ECF–and I doubt a coaching change or change of strategy changes a thing. Talent wins championships. Our talent, to this point at least, has been overrated.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        I do not think there is a sub conscience wanting for players to do better and therefore blame the coach for their actions.
        The stupid is not putting the players in a position to excel.
        I see the opposite. When you watch someone constantly making wrong decisions and you make excuses for them, you have a mommy issue. You were not raised properly. You’re in a la la land.
        If the player made a mistake he would be benched. Those players aren’t making mistakes,
        Maybe you don’t understand what a mistake is?
        You say “I’m not saying deployment doesnt matter or shouldn’t be questioned here. It’s more than fair game.”
        What? What you mean is deployment does not matter and the players should overcome. You fool no one except yourself. Double talk like leftists do. You’re funny.

  17. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Watch E3’s three untouchables and Stepan really watch them. It’s not points or goal which of course we want it’s are they driving the pace. Krieder in front of the net using his speed. JT forcing pace with speed and pounding people along the boards and Hayes creating chances for himself and others. Watch Stepan is he winning battles along the boards or even going to the boards. Is he creating chances for his line mates or are they driving pace forcing bad decisions from Ottawa Dmen. While the boy wonder is standing around looking for garbage.

    • Chris F says:

      You do know that Eddie refers to those guys as “untouchables” in a sarcastic way, right?

      I’m pretty sure he’d agree with your post 100%.

      • Walt says:

        Geez Chris, I thought the “untouchables” were Staal, Girardi, and Glass (who hasn’t been been bad), and Daisy Stepan????

        I guess I had that wrong!!!!!! Now this isn’t me being sarcastic, but realistic….


          No, you’re right. They’e untouchable (save for step) in the sense that no GM not on a morphine drip would touch those either of those two contracts with a 10 foot pole.

          • Walt says:

            Sather had to have been on crack with both the pylon contracts. Come to think about it, even Daisy’s contract!!!!!!!!!

            • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

              Aye but he has an infinitely better reputation at this point. He’s a fancy-stat darling; couple that with his age (and limited upside) with a bit of salary retention, and you have a very high quality trade chip.

              I don’t agree that he’s a bad player (quite honestly, I think he’s been underrated, if anything).

              But that still doesn’t change the fact that, much of what he brings is, to put it very kindly…. a highly redundant skillset on this team. That, in conjunction with his salary (and incoming NMC), makes trading him a no-brainer.

              I know that’s not technically relevant to this discussion, but I wanted to get that out there (for the record).

              • Walt says:


                If that’s the case trade him ASAP, and get what the hell we can, because unlike you, I think this guy is sooooooooo overrated. I would even go along with some cap retention, as long as he’s gone!!!!!!!!

          • Fotiu is God says:

            Woe! AWDS:

            Referencing morphine drip here amongst us High Dreamers?

            … Those of us linked by a collective if not yearly hallucination, the greatest narcotic high, a deep Blueshirt run?

            By the by, one of the best Sopranos’ skits ever: Christopher Moltisanti in the hospital, dissolving utterly into his morphine drip, thumb on the plunger.

            Tony utters a gem about “The kid having his own Erector set.”

  18. 'The Original Rob' says:

    I feel like the reasons we’re having issues in this series is not necessarily our personnel on this club unless you want to factor in that we don’t have centers that can win draws.

    Ottawas game plan is simple. Get shots on Hank at all costs, forcing draws in the O-Zone and create more draws.

    This is very apparent when we’re in their building, as opposed to being at the Garden. Boucher gets last licks with who to throw out there, and our home away record in this series is eveidence of this.

    Moral of the story, stop turtling and forecheck!


    • 'The Original Rob' says:



      No Turtling!?


    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      O Rob the way to beat the Rangers was shown to the NHL by the Kings. Throw the puck on goal, crowd the King and bully the Rangers D in front. That’s what The Senators have been doing. Camping out in front of Henrik and causing chaos and picking up loose change. I said in at the beginning of this series that’s where it would be won in the paint. Not enough Rangers have been willing to pay the price in the paint. E3 I agree on the leadership not being on this team but Staal, G, McD and Stepan should have learned something for BR and Marty. What I been saying for two years now the old core must go. They’ve had their run.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        I agree on the old core, but Kreider and Miller were there with both guys, and Hayes was there with MSL. They were supposed to be the guys to carry the torch going forward. I think they each have to be re-evaluated as well.


          Well, Miller’s ‘untouchable’ status certainly must be revoked after this. (Unless the kid has broken arms and/or is sporting a PDO in the mid 60’s.)

          I also think Hayes, much like his brother, has a lower compete level than a 34 pound, three-legged dachshund. So much potential… so few F*@#s given….

          Hopefully they can both pull a Hodor tonight & make this post look stupid.

          Though, to be fair, supposing they do that….. it’s gonna take a few more than just one stellar performance to undo years of perceived ambivalence (Hayes) & plain old overhype (Miller)…… for me, at least

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            On this, we are in complete agreement. Kreider too. He’s old enough now for us to conclude that what he is now is likely what he will be. Good player when he’s on. Rarely if ever a great player.

            • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

              I know I’ve said this in the past but, with Kreider, unless you get an offer you can’t refuse, the moral hazard there alone makes me balk at trading him. His rel gf% (I think) was something absurd this year; 6th overall in the league IIRC.

              Besides, can you imagine what he’d look like with even an ounce of determination (even if he only saved it for us)?

              That, and, given the fact he’s a power forward, I’m willing to give him more rope to (hopefully not) hang himself with.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          They were young it wasn’t their time it was G, Stepan, Staal and McD turn to lead not the untouchables. Get rid of the old core and then it’s on the youngsters.

  19. Chris F says:

    Random (somewhat insignificant) trivia per Larry Brooks: this is the first year since 1991 that the Rangers have went through the playoffs with zero previous Cup winners on the team.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      I actually think it’s more significant than we realize.

      In ’72, we had Rousseau and Stemkowski.

      In ’79, it was Espo and Vadnais.

      In ’94, well, really, who DIDN’T have SC rings? Messier, Beukeboom, Graves, Lowe, Tikkanen, MacTavish, Gilbert, Anderson.

      In ’14, we had Richards and St. Louis.

      Experience doesn’t guarantee anything, but it certainly can help when the big moment in a game or a series comes. The fact that this team has NO ONE on the roster who has a ring to me is part of the overall problem. You need some greatness on this roster–even if it’s greatness that’s past it’s prime, as was the case really with just about everyone mentioned above.

      We really have not recovered from the loss of MSL and Richards. Our would be “next wave of stars” have not shined brightly enough.

      Thus what we have. Good but not great team delivering good but not great results.

      • 'The Original Rob' says:

        That’s a GREAT point Eddie!

        That’s something that should have been addressed somehow. Even if you have just 1 veteran whose had Stanley Cup experience it would have gone along way, especially with this club.

        However, a third of this team was just in the finals and have been knocking on the door going deep a few times in the past 6 or so years. So there’s that I guess..

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


          You are right. And I’m sure that was the calculation by management. They probably had hoped by now that the guys who learned under Richie and Marty would be raising their game and leading by example. To this point, we just haven’t seen enough of it.

          If Tanner Glass and Mika Z have essentially the only big moments of the post-season thus far other than what Hank has done, then obviously, that’s a huge issue. And if it they get eliminated tonight or Thursday, I think Gorton needs to take a long hard look at whether any of those young supposed stars are really ever going to be truly elite talents. I’m getting more and more skeptical.

          • Chris F says:

            I’m not a big fan of hanging your hat on Cup winning pedigree, and so I do think it’s an overrated intangible.

            Give me a team like the Rangers who’ve been through the playoff trench war a number of times, have recently been to the Conference Finals and the Finals, who’ve tasted the bitterness of defeat and feel the sting of having come so close any day over a team with very little playoff experience save for a guy or two who have rings. Sure, in a couple instances, their experiences can help younger guys prepare mentally for the game, but any more so than a team brimming with players who’ve played in the playoffs nearly every year in recent memory?

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              That’s a more than fair counterpoint Chris. I think there is plenty of truth to what you are saying–IF the talent on the roster is high level enough, than yeah, agree, experience doesnt matter as much.

              But when it’s a group like this one, lacking that one truly GREAT forward, I think that Cup pedigree could be helpful.

              We need some greatness on this roster other than Hank. That to me is the core problem. Good or just ordinary performance is not going to get it done. They have Karlsson, who’s arguably the best defenseman in the league. They have Pageau, who’s playing like a great player. We have (fill in the blank) other than Hank?

              Needs to change tonight if we want to stay alive.

              • Chris F says:

                I’d counter that the Rangers repeated deep playoff runs in recent years IS experience. It’s not Cup winning experience, but I don’t think any less useful.

              • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

                You know Chris & Eddie, that logic cuts both ways.

                By virtue of having played the (I think) most playoff games out of any team in the last X years (also drawing a blank on that exact number as well; point is, it’s up there)…. you could make the counter-point that they’re the most tired & worn out bunch of players remaining. That is particularly true of guys like Girardi & Staal.

                Besides, it’s not like they ‘learned’ anything out there during this extra season they’ve played over the years; I’ll refrain from mentioning all of the blown lead/OT loss debacles that have been occurring ‘lately’.

                In regards to the absence of greatness… there’s a certain Russian sitting in the pressbox who just might qualify as such a thing someday….. if only they’d give him some ICE TIME ><!

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                Since they were eliminated early last year, and got plenty of rest down the stretch, I dont think this group could use the excuse about fatigue. That was valid last year. Not this year.

                As for Buch, again, let’s not anoint anyone as “great” so quickly. We keep doing that with our young guys and more often than not, they fall well short of that.

                Buch is young. He’s clearly talented. He also had a very, very uneven year, due in large part to his back injury. He’s at least a year or two away from being anywhere close to great.

                I’m not saying he should or shouldn’t play. But as you said, if greatness is his destiny, it will happen someday….surely not today.

              • AZgene4240 says:

                Gorton will explore trading one of the big three of Miller, Kredier or even Stepan due to his NTC kick-in on July 1st. I feel Gorton will try to do something with Oscar to keep him from the expansion draft. Three teams to watch for by means of trading partners this June and July: The Jets, The Ducks, and the Wild.

                Depth being signed right now for the AHL, we are signing at least one more player from Europe (Czech League), and we have a first rounder this year. The last piece will be through trades and Free agency ( Shattenkirk). Keep an eye out for the Jets, no secret the Rangers will see what the price Trouba, But, the Rangers have had an eye on Blake Wheeler (RW).

              • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

                “Gorton will explore trading one of the big three of Miller, Kredier or even Step-”

                Stepan. Trade him, not a 6’3 power forward with rocket skates.

                Just saying, if I had to pick (between those two).

                With Miller, I don’t know why you lumped him in with those two, if only because he’s still on his second contract (and is younger).

      • Fotiu is God says:

        What year did we have Boxcar Hospodar, Eddie?


        That is to oversights as MOAB is to munitions.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


          Great guy who was a fun interview back in the day!

          He essentially replaced your namesake when Nicky was taken by Hartford in the expansion draft following the 1978-79 season. I think they brought him up from the minors once they realized Frank “Seldom” Beaton was a bust. But the fans were screaming for Nicky to come back. The team wasn’t very good so they swung a deal to get him back late in the 1980-81 season. So for the remainder of that season, and all of the following season, we had Nicky and Boxcar. By that final season together, Herb Brooks was the coach, wasn’t really enmaored with Boxcar, figured he wasn’t necessary if they had Fotiu, and off he went to Hartford (seems like were doing a lot of deals with our future AHL city back in the day!).

          We weren’t a championship contender back then, but those two made watching and covering the team VERY entertaining!

  20. Stevem says:

    Start the Hanson line….

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Dude, by proclamation I’m changing your BSB handle to The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla.

      Or The Humongous (from Mad Max/Road Warrior).

      Behold The Genius that is StevenM:

  21. HOF 19 says:

    ……………………………………………………WIN………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..that covers it !