Sep
02

5 Signs it’s almost hockey season

September 2, 2017, by

It’s Labor Day weekend, which means that summer is over. What that means is that although we’re still a couple of weeks away from preseason, hockey is almost upon us. In case you don’t believe me though (I mean I can hardly believe we’re at this point either) here are some signs that hockey season is right around the corner.

  1. It’s (hockey) sweater weather – Although we had something of a mild summer here in the New York Metropolitan Area (don’t think I forgot about you Long Islanders/Northern NJ types) there were a few weeks there in July that were quite hot. Even when things weren’t scorching temperatures were still at least 80-something degrees. That seems to have tapered off as of late, with weather as low as the high 50s. All of that means it’s finally appropriate to don your favorite extra layer: your Rangers jersey.

  1. You still don’t care about the Devils – Getting the first overall pick must be nice, but even before the Travis Zajac injury they were still projected to be among the worst teams in the NHL this season. Now, with one of their key centermen going down, it adds more pressure to a totally unseasoned (but still high quality) prospect. Couple that with their still very not good defensive group and you’ve got a team that’s just kind of well, uninspiring. The Hudson River rivalry remains dormant for another year I suppose, because it’s hard to feel anything but pity with regards to our friends over in Jersey.

 

  1. It smells like Shatt in here – The biggest issue for the Rangers last year, and for the last several years if we’re being honest, was the defense. Simply put, Dan Girardi was not a suitable partner for Ryan McDonagh, stymying his potential to be the league-wide talent we all know him to be in our hearts. All of that, plus the fact that Rangers fans have been crying out for a real puck-moving defenseman since the departure of Keith Yandle, and well, we needed somebody. Enter Kevin Shattenkirk. Aside from his endearing qualities and likeability, he’s the real deal. He racks up points like he’s a forward and his defensive acumen, despite his bizarrely baseless reputation, is quite good. Him and McD on the top pair should be a treat to watch this season, and is one of the things to be most excited about in Rangerstown this upcoming season.

 

  1. You’re getting sick of baseball – It’s a decent substitute in the summer, when things slow down anyways and you want more than anything to spend time just laying on the couch watching the hours pass you by. Still, the lack of action can be something of a letdown compared to hockey, and at a certain point it just doesn’t cut it. Your heart craves excitement, the Mets’ hapless injury situation starts to get you down, and you just don’t want to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” anymore. Well your wish is (almost) granted because it’s September, and the NHL preseason starts in just about two weeks. An added bonus here is that even if you’re tired of baseball it’s the most exciting time of the season coming up right now, so you can at least be a little more entertained while you wait for Opening Night.

 

  1. You already know every Rangers’ birthday, how they spent their summer, their offseason training regimen, and so on – We’re living in the golden age of Rangers content, I won’t deny that. Still, after a certain point, learning which Rangers got married, who watches Game of Thrones, when each players’ birthday is, etc etc lacks a certain je nais se quoi that leaves you wanting more. Sure, these are all eminently likeable dudes who it’s fun to root for off the ice as well (try and tell me you weren’t excited when you found out Zucc spent his birthday with Derick Brassard) but we’re not just here to fan out over their personal lives. We want one thing: the Stanley Cup, and the only way to get there is to play lots and lots of hockey. Well folks, it’s truly almost time for that, so get excited, because hockey is right around the corner. Happy Labor Day weekend!
"5 Signs it's almost hockey season", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
Categories : Offseason

8 comments

  1. Bobby B says:

    Lets Rock & Roll !!!!!!!

  2. DAVID k says:

    I miss screaming at the T.V. for football and hockey.

  3. Rich S says:

    Well Done Pat!!!
    Although as an old timer I cant even remember my kids birthdays let alone any NY Rangers players.
    Do you think reacquiring Derrick Brassard would bring us even with pitts and capitals?

    • idesof says:

      Rich S………Big Time!

    • mintgecko says:

      We don’t match up with Caps centers no matter what and that’s by adding back Stepan and Brass while still having Hayes as a 3c. Hank has been the pivotal part that helped stop those teams in the past. Sorry but no matter who they add back the NYR still wouldn’t have a Backstrom/Kutz and Crosby/Malkin. Rangers are setup to beat both teams in the playoffs as long as everyone plays up to their potential.

  4. Richter1994 says:

    Another big sign is that you here the name “Traverse.”

  5. Egelstein says:

    Speaking to point number three and Shattenkirk’s defensive issues narrative…all I can surmise is that he gets this wholly inaccurate label from many because he doesn’t look like your typical maniacal and imposing defender out there according to the old school definition of such, either in stature or in style.

    His size is fine, but he’s also not a giant out there at 6′, 200-210ish lbs. His style is not barreling around the ice throwing bombs and putting opposing forwards over the wall, possibly taking himself out of the play in trying to do so. He’s not snow-angeling from the slot to the corner hoping that for some reason the shooter doesn’t simply wrist it over him, again possibly taking himself out of the play. He’s not getting down on one knee hoping that for some reason the shooter puts it right into his chest, again possibly taking himself out of the play (yes, this is a theme). He does not play the heavier minutes that many look to as a level of defensive prowess in of itself. He’s not the type of player who fights a lot or tries to enforce.

    Due in part to the fact that he doesn’t commit some of these above tactics that the old-school “Forget numbers – just watch the game, nerd!” crowd surely loves, he suppresses shots at a very high rate – 8 on a scale of 10 in shots suppressed per 60 mins. vs. league average on the HERO chart, whereas 6 and up is what is expected of a number one defender archetype in terms of productive possession. (Not “first pair” defender, to note – flat-out number one on any given team.)

    Last season, Ryan McDonagh had 60 giveaways to 45 takeaways, and Shatty had 40 to 36. Shatty threw slightly more hits than McD, although to note, neither is a prolific hitter (which, frankly, is partially why both are as good as they are – they stay with the play/puck/positioning of their scheme more often than many defenders rather than get out of position hoping for a juicy hit). McDonagh currently has a most recent 3-year combined shot suppression ranking of 6 on the HERO chart, compared to the aforementioned 8 that Shatty has. McD did block significantly more shots…but blocking is not exactly the same as as suppressing; it is one variety of suppression that is measured while others are not, however.

    The point here is not to try and paint one of these two as better than the other, though…the point is that one can make a case that Shattenkirk is roughly comparable to McD in terms of general defensive prowess, based on the numbers in play. Yet, Shatty has this narrative chasing him that he doesn’t play defense well at all, whereas McD obviously doesn’t carry that same stigma.

    All I can really come up with to explain this whole phenomenon is that the crowd that heavily weighs eye test over stats is the crowd that voices the narrative that Shatty is a bad defender repeatedly, and very loudly. Casual fans then assume this to be the case and propagate the myth. We also know that much of the mainstream hockey media still has little care for and/or understanding of the advanced metrics that have seen a meteoric rise in the last half-decade. Thei naysayers’ critique, to me, seems to be based more on what he does not do in terms of “looking the part” of a classic defender than what he does do to successfully defend in his own end.