Oct
12

Who me, worry? Never…

October 12, 2017, by

We miss you Marty

The season is one week old, yet it already feels like we’re back in the full swing of things. This mindset can be very comforting, like an old blanket on a chilly day. It’s familiar, it’s fun, and it’s always home at the Garden. However, some pieces of hockey season need to be analyzed with the part of the season we’re in — in this case, the early season.

Although it’s a hard truth that every game matters, it’s important to allow your team to ease in to the swing of things. Here at Blue Seat Blogs, a lot of people have issue with the coaching tactics of Alain Vigneault; that will be discussed below, but even he deserves the benefit of the early season doubt.

That being said, of course we’re still allowed to have our concerns. There are a few reasons to legitimately be worried with the state of our Rangers. Let’s dive deeper into why we should relax vs why we should panic.

Reasons to Relax

  • It’s October, and all teams need to fall into rhythm. If we took everything that happened in October at face value, Carey Price would be one of the worst goaltenders and Florida would have the best possession stats. Oh, and Washington is projected to have 111 points. It’s just silly.
  • Henrik Lundqvist always starts his seasons on the weaker side, and forgetting that for a hot minute, consider that the defense is so disorganized right now that it’s nearly impossible to get in a rhythm. I’d bet my life on the fact that Hank, whose save percentage right now is .898, will bring that number up considerably.
  • Remember when the Rangers opened the first three weeks of October 2-6-0 with a goal differential of -19? That team went on to the Stanley Cup Finals, and I still believe they could have won that. If a team is going to do poorly, I’d much prefer they falter in the beginning of the season than towards the end. You need to walk before you run, especially with many new faces both on the ice and behind the bench.

Reasons to Panic

*DISCLAIMER* I never think you should actually panic about sports. It’s a game. It brings tons of joy and angst to our lives, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a happy pastime for our everyday life, so let’s remember that and treat it as such.

  • To put it mildly, AV is on his typical antics already this year. Forget your preconceived notion that this blog is vehemently anti-AV, the patterns he falls into are troublesome. If one chooses not to see this, so be it, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that he is stubborn to a fault. Choosing to play Steven Kampfer (barely an AHL-caliber player) over the guy you traded your 1C for is, well… something. His deployment is consistently terrible.
  • The ever evident lack of scoring forwards, as will be discussed further this afternoon with Dave’s post. We can’t rely on Mika Zibanejad on the power play all the time, and the fact that we have 8(!) defensemen up with inconsistent pairings, while suffering offensively, is not a good thing. I suppose we can see what Adam Cracknell does, but unless Jesper Fast makes a *fast* (ha!) recovery, even still we’d need something to happen.
  • In the off chance that this season goes off the rails, and that Vigneault were to lose his job, the most obvious runner up would be Lindy Ruff, whose coaching style is identical to AV’s. It wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade. This is some real doomsday speak, though, and I don’t see it getting there.

Whichever camp you choose to park yourself in is up to you. I prefer the cautiously optimistic space, where I feel confident that 1- AV will annoy me, and 2- the Rangers will settle down and rack up some wins. With back to backs this weekend, it’s very possible that we all wake up Sunday morning feeling much better, or wake up feeling much worse.

"Who me, worry? Never...", 5 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.
Categories : Musings

86 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    2013-14, the Rangers started out 2-6, giving up over 5 goals per game; result? SCF.

    2016-17, the Rangers were scoring 5+ goals per game and started out 13-4; result? Second round loss to an inferior team.

    It doesn’t matter what they do in Oct and Nov, just don’t dig yourself into too big a hole and stay around .500.

    I give AV until January to get his act together.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      I don’t like AV and I would give him to Jan as well. If the team is not playing consistent hockey with a decent chance of making it to the finals he keeps his job. If there are any doubts we really need to bite the bullet and make a move to find someone who can deploy the current assets in a manner that wins both hockey games and develops our younger players.

      This is vitally important for a team that builds on the fly without top draft picks in the system to be able to consistantly inject the lineup with homegrown talent. And not shirk away from losing a few games to make the team better in the long haul.

      TBH I don’t think AV will get us to the cup. He is a good coach, he is just missing something that he doesn’t inspire the players. its the missing X factor.

      • Richter1994 says:

        The problem is that you know who the defacto replacement is. He’s currently standing next to AV during games. Ruff is no bargain either so it would appear like even if Gorton made a move and assuming it’s Ruff, are we any better off?

    • Bryan says:

      AV hasn’t gotten his act together since his been here so what makes that change now? If you read around the cyber world yesterday it was very telling that AV has lost the locker room and it’s only a matter of time before he’s gone. When veteran players go to ownership with their complaints it’s only a matter of time before you’re shown the door. Gorton will then be able to hire someone of his choice and there’s nobody to blame but him. My concern is exactly as Becky states and that’s Ruff is no better so hopefully Gorton is as adept at hiring coaches as he is as building a team (minus the center he never found).

      Gorton needs to find a coach whose younger, not analytically dependent and willing to let young players make mistake and grow. Enough with retread head coaches with resumes filled with fancy stats and awards yet always devoid of the most important of all hardware.

      We’ve been through Tortorella, now we’re in Tortorella Part Deux…. Let’s not make the same mistake in our next coaching hire and have Tortorella the final chapter!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Hilarious! The Cyberworld! You mean ONE article on some blog where the disclaimer was, at the top of the article, that he has no real information to confirm ANY of that—it was just speculation. Yep, that’s a heck of a source. And it’s just amazing to me that NO ONE actually covering the team has EVER speculated on this. Not. Even. ONCE.

        This is 99.9% likely the very definition of Fake News, and you fell for it hook, line and sinker!

      • Richter1994 says:

        I agree with you Bryan. I want a Hakstol type coach, a younger guy with coaching experience, even if it’s not at the NHL level.

        AV continues to shoot himself in the foot. Proclaiming not to trust young players, have zero tolerance for their mistakes, and yet give unlimited rope to “his” guys that ef up continuously.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          And what you are suggesting has probably a 75% chance of failing miserably, and we will be looking for another savior in two years. And meanwhile, we will still have the same personnel issues that will keep us from being legit Cup contenders.

          I think it’s amusing that you’ve latched on to Hakstol. Most Flyers fans wanted him fired after last season. The grass is always greener down the Turnpike I guess. 🙂

          • Richter1994 says:

            Hakstol type, meaning YOUNG with coaching experience at some level.

            And I said in other responses in this thread that Ruff would be the successor anyway, so I wouldn’t get my wish anyway.

            I wish we could have this discussion on AV in person, lol.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Perhaps one day my friend. That would be fun!

              • Richter1994 says:

                Won’t happen now, they are still in “win now” mode. It will be interesting to see what happens if this year goes down the proverbial crapper.

    • Egelstein says:

      Id have given AV until the day after the Senators series ended, personally. I don’t think the front office is as cutthroat as we are in this area, though, to say the least. Which is almost always the case in sports, because they are friends and long time co-workers, often times having worked together in some capacity or crossed paths in other organizations, even if they have soured a bit from the time they thought he was undoubtedly their guy. It is harder for them to consider firing him than it is for us fans to get to a point we’d like to see it, obviously. I think they’re gonna have to go straight dumpster fire for a prolonged period to get AV canned mid-season, but that’s just my feeling.

      On the flip side, I do feel there was more to Ruff coming in than only “When you can get a former head coach to run your defense, why not?”. I just personally assumed it to be a bit of that, as well as a way of saying without actually saying it, “One more year, Alain”. They could be employing Ruff in that manner even though they have no intents of making him the head coach at any point, as well. Maybe Ruff himself decided, hey, know what, I made a lot of money in this game already and my head coaching gigs were a lot of work and didn’t turn out the way I’d like lately, and I’d just like to simplify things a bit and coach a defense. Lots of moving parts there, and we just don’t know…but chief among the possibilities has to be the assumption that Ruff could fill the vacancy should AV be dismissed. That’s natural.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Idle speculation based on nothing. What we do know though, reported by several different well placed sources both on the Rangers beat and other NHL reporters and columnists, is that Arniel came to AV and recommended Ruff. AV knows Ruff well. They met, exchanged ideas, he was hired.

        Could you possibly be right? Sure, i suppose. But then in that case, we’d have to also conclude that our GM was an incompetent fool for forcing AV to hire his eventual replacement, just months after giving him a mega raise and extension to make him among the most well-compensated coaches in the league.

        But hey, conspiracy theories are much more fun, so let’s go with that instead.

        • Egelstein says:

          I presented multiple options, Eddie. Indeed, Ruff knows some of this staff – and that undeniably is often the case in the NHL where past coaching circles come into play a lot, and coaches are “recycled” at a high rate. My personal opinion and the general observation of many is that oftentimes when this happens, whether it be AHL, NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, etc., is that big name assistants who were formerly head coaches can definitely be the next in line if a head coaching change is decided upon. It’s a pretty common and natural thing.

          “Based on nothing” would be saying something like strength and conditioning coach Reg Grant is likely next in line, in contrast.

      • Richter1994 says:

        IMO, Ruff was brought here to be the heir apparent “just in case.” The Rangers are not rebuilding they are retooling, which means they are looking to contend. No way they bring in a young coach, in the middle of the season no less, for a run for the playoffs. Ruff is next in line, like it or not.

    • Reenavipul says:

      With the schedule this month there are no gimmes(maybe teams compile enough game tape to properly scout Vegas and bring them back to earth), completely plausible to go 3-10 with some bad puck luck(plausible be 5-8 with good puck luck.)

      If it’s that bad and the team turned the ship around just to get back to last year’s pace, you’re looking at a 91 point team. They’d have to play .666 hockey the rest of the way to likely be in for the playoffs.

      A smart GM plans for all eventualities, so what happens if they end the month 3-10, 4-9? Do you go hell bent to make the playoffs? What would blowing it up look like?

      I’m not sure AV has a month.

    • Swarty says:

      I’m with you Richter – but you have to make the dance or it’s all for naught.

      I posted last week that the playoff margin (in/out) was an average of 2.5 points over the last four years.

      It is difficult to play catch-up in March – just ask the Lightning who turned it on at the end last year after middling their way through most of the season. 94 points and they missed by one…

      The East has become very very competitive and there is going to be little room for error – one or two games can make or break the season. There is a sports analogy that you can’t win the title during the first part of the season but you CAN LOSE IT……

      • Richter1994 says:

        100% my friend, I agree with you. Carolina, Isles, Flyers, and even Devs are better this year. One game can be the difference between Cup and no playoffs (see 2014 LA Kings, who made the playoffs the last day of the regular season.).

  2. Spozo says:

    Jeff Gortons words: “He was the first to admit that the pace and competition stepped up from the pre-season. Filip said that he was a little bit nervous on the ice. So we wanted to get him to a place where he would get the time he needs to develop. And he is going to get all the time he needs there. We want to give Filip more time to acclimate himself to the smaller rink surface over here, which he acknowledged that he needs. And he wants it.”

    So how about that disconnect between Gorton and AV?

    • Dave says:

      So you’re ignoring the roster decisions on the blue line? Ok then.

      • Spozo says:

        How about this. You say “I was wrong to suggest that AV and Gorton were in disagreement with how Chytil was handled”. And I’ll say “I don’t see any evidence that the coach and management are in disagreement on how the defense is deployed besides how I thought it should look on paper”.

        • Dave says:

          Lol. You’re funny.

          Disagree with me all you want. I offered my opinion. Don’t insult my intelligence. Thanks.

          • Ray says:

            I’m sorry Dave. I like you. But this is really really offensive. Opinions are a window into how your mind works. To call someone an idiot (and Spozo absolutely did not do that) because they have arrived at either a ridiculous opinion or an opinion based on spurious logic would be untactful but not entirely inappropriate.

            Look, I use +/- sometimes and you often respond with something like +/- is a garbage stat. This is a polite way of pointing out an intellectual defect in someone who thinks the way I do.

            The fact is that if we have differing opinions, either we have different objectives, different information, or different reasoning processes. In the third case, the natural presumption is that I (generic first person) am right and you (generic second person) are engaging in faulty thinking.

            In the matter at hand, you have remarkably little information about Gorton. There are numerous clues that Gorton and AV are on the same page and none that they are in disagreement.

            It is a fact that you dislike AV, a decision you have arrived at through a valid logical process based upon reasonable assumptions which some of us would disagree with. It is also a fact that Gorton has made a number of moves, some of which you approve of and some of which you don’t. I will label these moves good and bad.

            Where you run off the rails is in thinking that the bad moves are simply things JG does to please AV while the good moves were done for the same reason you would have done them and are counter to AV’s wishes.

            Perhaps I am too logical, but I think that good general managers don’t operate from preconceived notions. Consider this hypothetical. Conventional wisdom is that Sean Day has a 75% chance of being Ryan McDonagh and a 25% chance of being Dylan McIlrath. You can draft him — or you can draft a kid with a 100% chance of being Oscar Lindberg. What do you do?
            Do you think Day will make it or not? Wrong question. You don’t have to have an opinion. In fact, if my own scouts tell me that the conventional wisdom is optimistic and the odds are really 70-30, I still take Day. Because the move is worth the risk and because if I keep making decisions like this, I will end up with a good team.

            Absolutely everyone in the hockey world knew that Anthony DeAngelo was a highly talented young defensemen with a lot of baggage and a strong need for improvement. This was a risky acquisition. All we know is that JG thought it was a good bet. Part of his thinking, I would imagine, was a confidence in his team to manage that asset.

            Remember, JG just gave Kampfer a two year contract.

            • Dave says:

              Which is why I said disagree with me all you want.

              What was presented to me was “hey admit your opinion sucks and I’ll admit that mine is awesome.”

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I’m not going to get into whether a statement was insulting or not. I respect both of your opinions greatly.

              But taking that first paragraph out, if I could thumbs up Ray’s post 10,000 times, I would. Totally agree with just about every word.

        • Egelstein says:

          Dave wrote an opinion piece, and said as much. Right in the title, “…seemingly..”. Not “…definitely…”. Not “…confirmed to be true…” It was not reported as fact. You honestly believe that Gorton and Co. signed Shatty to feature on the second pair and lower minutes after buying out their incumbent 1RHD who the coach refused to shelter appropriately, traded their number one center with DeAngelo being a huge part of the return to maybe play 3:45 a night or maybe not play, and gave Smith that contract to keep the chair warm in the press box? I don’t. Sorry. Pretty sure that was, in fact, not their vision.

          As for Chytil, can’t recall the last time a GM blasted their coach with a mainstream media mic in front of them over something like that. It is entirely possible they both agreed…this does not dismiss the fact that it’s still seemingly odd they seemed ready to give him a long term shot at 2C and then clipped his wings after two bad penalties and one questionable one. They gave him parts of two games and about 12 minutes after thinking so highly of him as to keep him up based on the preseason. That would be odd for some coaches, but it’s what a lot of us expected, exactly, given Vigneault’s past habits. I’m not saying he’s ready, mind you – just that 12 minutes TOI plus practices (doubt he forgot how to practice between the preseason and season) don’t seem to be much of an evaluation phase. A lot of players in the league wouldn’t have stuck based on 12 mins. TOI at age (barely) 18. Is what it is, but it’s just odd. Hell, maybe his nerves were the main problem and nobody is saying that. We don’t know. We do know it was a pretty quick about face, though.

          That’s AV’s style, though…players see the bench early in their careers playing for him when they make the same or lesser mistakes than his trusted favorites. For a man who wasn’t that great of a player, he certainly seems to demand instant greatness from his new hires.

          • Mintgecko says:

            Chytil wasn’t playing well enough between any of his glaring mistakes and shaky defense. I think Spozo has a point to challenge what Dave is trying to say because in my view there’s more exampls of the GM being on the same wave length as the head coach. I’m not saying that they like to go out together and grab a beer but any GM that dumps Boyle, Dorsett and Moore and leaves Glass must be invested in the head coach. I think AV was a big part on blowing up this team by getting rid of some major staples for this organisation, again no head coach without the reach of the GM has that authority. I also noticed how they both expressed to the media that Hayes has been ready to take on Stepan’s old role. The two can’t be that far off in terms of communication and viewing the same direction.

            • Egelstein says:

              Gorton can’t do anything to change the lineup decisions game to game other than take players off the roster, or fire the coach. Continued employment should never be taken as a universal satisfaction with all of a coach’s moves, any sport. I don’t know why some folks assume that (and I’m not even necessarily saying you are fully either, just putting it out there). Deeming that a certain coach is a team’s best option at the moment is in no means a declaration of perfection from the front office.

              When was the last time you heard of someone being featured in a prominent role on a team with high aspirations for success and maybe even a Cup being bought out? That’s what Gorton did with Girardi. He straight up took AV’s preferred 1RHD right off the roster in order to prevent the same failures that cost them dearly in recent years from being repeated.

              Nobody said they disagree on everything. It was pointed out that the GM signed players who were not necessarily in the mold of players that fit old coaching habits that AV has gone back to already in this young season. It was pointed out that just 12 minutes TOI to evaluate a young player seemed pretty odd given that they seemed ready to give Chytil a real shot at 2C after the preseason, just days prior. I happen to agree with both of those notions. Maybe there is a real disconnect, maybe there isn’t. Coaches and GMs don’t often trash on each other in the press even when things are really tense behind closed doors and the true story comes out many moons later. It is all a fair thing to render an opinion on, either way, and it rarely becomes evident in the press at the time. When it does, they are usually just complete meltdown blowout situations, and both parties are often gone soon thereafter.

              • Mintgecko says:

                There you just said it yourself, JG gave AV reason to go back to his old habits. I call that more of being on the same page than the other way around.

              • Egelstein says:

                That is in no way what I said, haha. I’m sorry you interpreted it that way. I do not see Marc Staal as being on the roster solely based on talent evaluation, as another example. It doesn’t fit most of the other moves Gorton put in motion. I suspect there were certainly other factors in play as well. It seems to be that there is a certain level of compromise on that side of things – I doubt GMs often build teams entirely to their own singular preferences, coach input be damned. I do believe coaches more often make decisions with the lineup based solely on their feelings, without necessarily needing to compromise back to the GM’s wishes. This was covered when the Moneyball scene was referenced in the piece the other day. Sometimes, that’s precisely why they get fired, which may come out after the fact. “We didn’t feel (insert coach’s name) was taking the team in the direction we envisioned” or something along those lines is usually the nice way they put it when it comes to quotes for the press. I believe it is also part of the reason why, generally speaking, GMs tend to have longer tenures than coaches.

              • Ray says:

                Actually the GM can dictate lineup decisions, albeit sparingly. JG can tell AV you play DeAngelo ten minutes a night or you’re gone. AV can choose to quit – or disobey one and get fired, but JG has the upper hand. And I don’t believe that from time to time, a GM does direct a coach to play someone, e.g., we both want X gone and I am trying to trade him. I’ll get more if you don’t bench him now.

                As for Chityl, well there is not the gulf between 2C and the AHL that you imagine. Chityl was competing for one of the last two spots on the team (won by him and Carey). The thinking was that IF he made the team, he would be most useful as a 2C. So it was a 2C or AHL decision.

                Historical note: Tortorella (wrongly in my view) regarded Mats Zuccarello is a poor choice for a bottom six forward. OTOH, I think it fair to say that he did regard Zuke as on of his nine best top six forwards (even in the early days). But your eighth or ninth best top six guy goes to Hartford if he can’t play bottom six.

              • Egelstein says:

                Ray, I didn’t say it was a huge gulf for a team struggling at the C position. Sorry if it came off that way. I find it strange, mostly. To me, it was odd to, as best I can tell, go from apparently fine with Hayes or Desharnais or Miller at 2C, to keeping Chytil up and slotting him above Hayes and Desharnais and Miller at 2C, to Chytil getting his minutes nipped after a few mistakes, to sent down after 12 minutes combined TOI between two games, and back to Miller at C. Doesn’t usually happen that way when guys make teams out of preseason. I also was surprised at the whole sequence of events combined, not that AV gave him a short leash, to note. I find it hard to believe that was the original gameplan here.

                Some GMs may have that capability/right to exert that kind of pressure on the coach to play a certain roster night-to-night and not have their own employment come under risk. I do not believe it is common for it to be exercised in the vast majority of scenarios. You allude to the fact it is used sparingly; I can’t confirm or deny that, but the approach in the first two games seemed to favor more the players Gorton brought in. The approach in the two games since seemed to favor more AV’s historical style of lineup composition and behavior in general. I do not believe Jeff Gorton has full autonomy when it comes to AV’s employment status – and in noting that, I am in no way saying he wants him gone…just that even if he did, he probably doesn’t make that call solo anyways, as best I can tell and would assume as a fan.

                I’d actually much rather Chytil get minutes in the AHL than watch NHL games from the bench or press box. I also would have personally liked to see him get more of a chance on NHL ice, on the other hand. What has me really boggled about this whole thing is some folks (not accusing you) who are defending these moves are at the same time saying “Hey guys don’t panic, trust the coach, give him a shot”…the coach who decided to blow up his defense three games in? That seems more like panic, to me. The same coach who played Dan Girardi in a prominent role so often that the team had no choice but to buy him out? We’ve seen this episode before. It wasn’t a good one.

              • Ray says:

                Actually Egelstein, what surprised me was what happened first. The Rangers entered camp with ten legitimate forwards on the team (plus Fast). So far, that is not uncommon. However, last year, there were guys like Pirri and Jooris around whereas this year both the number and quality of the contenders for the last few spots was surprisingly low. I think Chityl (and Carey for that matter) made the team because the alternatives were worse, not because they were great.

                In hindsight, Chityl was a “can’t really be an NHLer, can he? But maybe? What do we have to lose? Putting him between Zuccarello and Nash gives him the best chance to succeed. Alas, even that didn’t work.”

              • Egelstein says:

                There were plenty of guys available on the cheap (albeit nobody earth-shattering, for sure) even through the end of the preseason if they didn’t have some level of faith in Chytil and Carey. It seems to me that they did, to some degree. In the case of Chytil, again…12 minutes. I’m not sure you can properly/fully evaluate anyone other than the can’t miss guys like McDavid/Matthews/etc. in 12 mins TOI. Sure feels to me like Gorton got his way getting him on the roster, and AV promptly exerted his power to correct that. That definitely seems like the likeliest scenario and I’d say that even if I was an AV fan, for sure.

              • Ray says:

                They could evaluate me in twelve seconds – and most people on the planet. In the case of Chityl, it is twelve minutes added to everything else. They knew his strengths, they knew his weaknesses, they just didn’t know how the combo would play, but they knew what they were looking for. In twelve minutes, that could see it wasn’t going to work.

                Also, I was watching baseball yesterday and saw Carl Edwards Jr. pitch. He got a 1-2 count on the first batter and ended up walking the two batters he faced. The Edwards who threw pitch #1 was a confident pitcher and the guy who walked the second batter was terrified. And Edwards is a veteran.

                I imagine the Filip Chityl of the preseason was an arrogant kid (meant as a compliment, not as a criticism). In his first two games, he gets schooled a handful of times by real hockey players. The arrogance and confidence melt away. It isn’t just that he doesn’t appear as good as he did in preseason. He really isn’t as good.

    • Reenavipul says:

      So the guy who has won more games than any other coach not to lift the cup thought Chytil was 2nd line material until he didn’t? Did the GM slot Chytil in as a 2C and then AV played Dr. Hook? None of these people can project whatsoever?

  3. James Carr says:

    Reasons for optimism….So far this season, when Staal is on the ice at 5 on 5 the Rangers have 54% of the shot attempts and 31 scoring chances for and 23 against. (Natural Stat Trick)

    • D C says:

      Yeah, thank Mac.

    • Dave says:

      Assuming he lets McDonagh carry him, the way he let Stralman, I’m fine. That opens up the last two pairings as Skjei-Shatty and Smith-DeAngelo, assuming no AV shenanigans.

      • D C says:

        I’m more than happy with the defense if that’s how it shakes out but I’ve given up on the coach already. We may see that D for a game but the second DeAngelo turns the puck over he will be benched and out of the lineup. But when career AHLer Kampfer does it he gets more ice time….makes sense.

  4. SalMerc says:

    AV will be here this year and probably next year too. Get him wingers who can score and he is a genius. He is not a nurturing figure behind the bench, so youngsters get a short fuse.

    His defense is rebuilding before our eyes. Let’s relax until Election day. By then we either gel or implode.

  5. Blue Seat says:

    Give AV until Nov, then he switches places with LR. Their coaching might be similar, but AV is strange. Playing Kampfer and Holden over Tony and Smirh is similar to his previous deployments of Tanner, and Yandel; he is messing with his boss’ thoughts of who can improve the team, and that is a no win situation, usually.

  6. Creature Feature says:

    Never the players fault, always the coach.

    Maybe the middle 6 need to do their job? Maybe Smith signed a big contract and came in out of shape? Maybe the GM was looking for lightning in a bottle when Chytil made the team?

    If Skjei doen’t screw up, maybe we beat the Blues. The defensive pairings are eye-opening, but so was the play of the guys sitting in the pressbox.

    Sure its early, but 4 or 5 goals in 5v5 play is the coaches fault?

    • Egelstein says:

      These are things people have seen from AV for years. He doesn’t give players who aren’t his favorites adequate chances to adjust before he clips their play time. He gives players he does trust all sorts of cushion. These are not universal facts, nor are most things with coaches. They are, however, long-term recurring patterns of coaching behavior based on a very large sample of observation.

      • Creature Feature says:

        Holden on defense, yes I see it, but benching Smith is not a behavior we have seen before.

        Buch staying on the top line is also a behavior we didn’t see all of last year.

        Everyone on this team needs a jumpstart. AV has favorites, but so does any coach. Do what AV asks, play hard and even I can be his favorite.

        All I am saying is that Smith and DeAngelo played poor enough to get benched. Holden and Kampfer are poor substitutions, but that is what he has. I would bench Hayes tonight if we had another center, as he is underperforming too!

        • sherrane says:

          “All I am saying is that Smith and DeAngelo played poor enough to get benched…”

          This is what I don’t understand about this uproar. It isn’t as if we are talking about ONE bad play from each player. It isn’t as if they have played better than Kampfer and Holden despite having more physical ability, which is the point to consider. You don’t get ticked at your old dog for crapping on the rug because you were out too long and he can’t hold it like he used to. You DO get ticked at your old dog crapping on the rug as soon as you walk out the door because he knows better.

        • Egelstein says:

          I want to say the KZB line actually was pretty normal until Buch and Mika’s injury woes. That’s just recollection though, not going back and looking at line combos or anything detailed. After the injuries and both being long term, all bets were off, for sure. The line composition changes were necessary then, of course. While I would have preferred he give Buch more of a chance upon his return, I didn’t expect that and even if I would have preferred otherwise, I can see some of the reasoning.

          The outright press-boxing of Smith may come as a surprise to some, but to me it is still just a symptom of the bigger picture with AV. Players with lower ceilings, some of which who make roughly the same level of mistakes or more, being favored in lieu of higher upside players. Smith has yet to gain his trust, subjective as that may be. It’s always been a sliding scale with AV – certainly not evenly applied across the roster – and there certainly are many coaches out there who may have their favorites, sure, but not to that degree. AV did it in VAN, and fans there felt it and expressed it, too.

          • Ray says:

            difference between not doing the right thing because you can’t and not doing the right thing because you won’t make the effort.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Yes, there is a sliding scale….because EVERY coach has a sliding scale. Does Joe Girardi have the same leash for Betances right now that he does for Chapman? Or the same leash for his DHs as he does for Sanchez or Judge?

            Every coach has a sliding scale because trust has to be earned.

            • Egelstein says:

              This analogy is deeply flawed. Chapman still lights up the radar gun into the triple digits. He hasn’t given up an earned run since August 25th. Lots of big game experience in the closer role. He is extremely effective, still. Betances is a fine pitcher, but he’s just not the better of the two for the closer role right now. Girardi doesn’t trust Chapman for main closing duties because he’s his guy, or even just because he’s been around longer…he trusts him because he’s the best candidate for main closer on the team, at the moment.

              A more typical AV-style move would be to use Betances as a starter, because in his head Betances should be a starter. A more typical AV-style move would be to have the veteran Frazier batting cleanup for long stretches, because Sanchez had a couple rough games in a row. A more typical AV-style move would be to play Ellsbury over Hicks if it was a decision between the two, because he has coached Ellsbury longer and that creates a comfort zone for the coach. Etc.

              Major differences. Playing the best player for the role even though there are other also good players vying for the role is not the same as playing favorites. Nor, even, is playing the hot hand. What AV does time and time again is use a small sample size of bad games from a player he doesn’t favor to justify demotion/benching for that player and long stretches of starting time for clearly lesser skilled favorites that he is comfortable with. What AV does time and time again is tinker with the lines and pairings so often that it is impossible for them to gel, so he puts back together player combos who come with far less upside, but have played together longer. Etc.

          • LaugherNYC says:

            Just like when Carmelo Anthony came to NY, a huge West Coast basketball fan friend of mine texted me “the Knicks will implode within three seasons with him. He cannot win anything, and his me first and only attitude will pull the team apart. They have no chance of winning wth him, and likely for years after he destroys the organization.” almost verbatim. zI don’t care about the NBA, but he sure was right.

            Likewise, an NCal-based NHL nut sent me when we signed AV “Always a bridesmaid. The guy will never win a Cup. Sabotages the best talent for his vision of how things should work. All the Mothercanuckers I know HATE the guy and want to smash his face in. How does such a bland guy generate THAT much hate? By draining enthusiasm for dynamic young talent and playing minor league steady Eddies instead. Crazy line combos. Rear view mirror in 4-6 seasons, no Cup. Book it.”

  7. Rangers Rock says:

    I believe AV is Dracula! He makes you think that he is taking you to the promise land but he can not because he is dead. Wonce the truth shines its light on him he will disappear. All of the Dracula fans are hypnotized into believing he is doing well with 100 points but we can not win because of the self-sabotage in the playoffs. The dead does not want to see the light.
    E3 is Dracula junior who is constantly trying to keep us confused and dead. I have a cross that I will shine on E3 and maybe the sun will shine on him and he will also disappear.

    • Mythdoc says:

      Points for creativity! I’ll expect your holiday themed post in about a month.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Good Eve-n-ing! I am back! (Flapping my cape as i say this!)

      It’s really amazing. We have one sure fire HOFer in Hank. And, if he continues on the pace he’s been on the last decade, probably another HOFer in AV. Yet you have NO use for either guy and never, ever hold any of our other players accountable for their uninspiring point totals year after year.

      The issue is our players are not nearly as good as you have made them out to be. Yet, the team somehow has put together 100+ point seasons year after year, in an era when it’s tough for any team to maintain that level of consistency. Seems to me the lions share of the credit goes to the coach and the goalie, not the marginal talent that they both have to rely upon.

  8. John B says:

    1. “It’s October, and all teams need to fall into rhythm. If we took everything that happened in October at face value, Carey Price would be one of the worst goaltenders and Florida would have the best possession stats. Oh, and Washington is projected to have 111 points. It’s just silly.”

    I agree about Price. Washington finished with 118 points last year, so 111 isn’t unheard of and can’t calm us. And Florida was in a virtual tie (in the hundredths and thousandths of decimal points) for Top-10 in CF%.

    2 & 3 I agree with.

    “To put it mildly, AV is on his typical antics already this year. Forget your preconceived notion that this blog is vehemently anti-AV, the patterns he falls into are troublesome. If one chooses not to see this, so be it, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that he is stubborn to a fault. Choosing to play Steven Kampfer (barely an AHL-caliber player) over the guy you traded your 1C for is, well… something. His deployment is consistently terrible.”

    You forgot purposely choosing to play Steven Kampfer willingly against Vladimir Taresanko. It’s one thing to try and prove a point, ok I can buy that. But playing an AHL defenseman purposely against one of the best young goal scorers in the league right now is like playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets loaded.

    “The ever evident lack of scoring forwards, as will be discussed further this afternoon with Dave’s post. We can’t rely on Mika Zibanejad on the power play all the time, and the fact that we have 8(!) defensemen up with inconsistent pairings, while suffering offensively, is not a good thing. I suppose we can see what Adam Cracknell does, but unless Jesper Fast makes a *fast* (ha!) recovery, even still we’d need something to happen.”

    I think the larger underlying concern is that no one is being given any chance to form some semblance of cohesion with each other on blue line or amongst the forwards. Last year the forwards had 2 defenseman who can complete a pass. This year we have 5, and I’m sure they’re confused by the ability to receive the little black puck onto their stick instead of anywhere else.

    “In the off chance that this season goes off the rails, and that Vigneault were to lose his job, the most obvious runner up would be Lindy Ruff, whose coaching style is identical to AV’s. It wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade. This is some real doomsday speak, though, and I don’t see it getting there.”

    This is probably the biggest cause for concern. Lindy Ruff is the exact same coach as AV.

  9. Walt says:

    Let’s all panic after 4 games and cry about the coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Creature Feature says:

      Seems like the theme

    • Egelstein says:

      If this was a new coach, you’d have a hell of a point here. Problem is, it’s the same coach, doing the same things he has been criticized for by many in the past. Don’t know how much you ever followed the Canucks, but the roster tinkering was a bone that many of their fans picked as well. I never actively followed their fan feedback, but let’s just say it was noted thoroughly upon his departure. There were not a lot of tears flowing from their fan base that day, far as I could tell.

    • Walt says:

      This is not Walt posting above, nice try!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I’m still holding out for another 20 or so games to give Clarabell a chance to get his ass fired………….

  10. Mythdoc says:

    AV is responsible “at the end of the day,” but Ruff is handling the defense this year with much more autonomy than you guys are acknowledging.

  11. Pas44 says:

    My Panic has more to do with Miller, Hayes, Krieder and Vesey.
    I don’t put much stock in Nash, aside from 1 regular season and a lack of post season heroics, he is a missing piece this team needs. Henrik will play as good as the team, meaning, if the wheels fall off I can see him having a less then King like season. The team needs to put more then a few things together, it feels daunting at this point…

    What’s above average right now? Mika and Zucc’s play, thats all I feel good about.

    any thoughts?

    I also agree with Dave about the GM/Coach disconnect, although I see it more like JG is allowing AV to hang himself until Nov/Dec

    unless we lose the next 4, then I think AV is toast

    just MO

    • Mintgecko says:

      Vesey is just in the start of his aftermath of a over hyped rookie season. As I said all summer that it would take a miracle for him to earn a top 6 role. He could very well be in the running for a sophomore slump which could leave him with 10 goals and 8 or 9 assist. JT and Hayes need to reunite with Zucc. Nash needs to play with DD on the 3rd line as well as Vesey. JG should let those combos gel and have AV mix and match from there. In reality all the Rangers are missing is a quality 4c and for the kill another quality too 4 S man. If JG could fix the D by trading Beset or Grabner with Smith or Holden with a pick as well than maybe Tanev with Dorsett could really help out.

  12. Walt says:

    Your podcasts put me to sleep. And it’s always the same thing about how you know better than an established NHL coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt says:

      again this fraud is putting my name out there, not my feelings at all………

    • Walt says:

      Dave

      Please check the IP address on this clown, I can catch enough heat for my posts without his help!

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        This is like “To Tell the Truth”. Will the real Walt please stand up? 🙂

        • Walt says:

          E3

          He flushed me out, I didn’t want to start the season off negatively, but some impersonator wants to have fun, so be it………..

  13. Ray says:

    “Choosing to play Steven Kampfer (barely an AHL-caliber player) over the guy you traded your 1C for is, well… something. His deployment is consistently terrible.”

    Would you have traded Stepan for a 12 yr old Gretzky? Would you have faulted the coach for not playing Gretzky immediately?

    Andersson and DeAngelo are two young players with a lot of talent. Hopefully, that means major assets. It does not mean they are NHLers now.

    • Becky says:

      The problem here, dear Ray, is that not only is deAngelo an NHLer now, Kampfer was never one.

      • Ray says:

        Going back to your original post, Florida won the Atlantic division two years ago. They signed Keith Yandle and were a good possession stats team last year and missed the playoffs. So far this year, they lead in possession stats and have a 1-1 record, having been cumulatively outscored. The moral here is that if you make possession stats your goal, you can get good possession stats but it does not translate into victory. Obviously, this is a very small sample size and it would be nice to have a serious study comparing the team success of teams that are constructed to maximize possession and those that pay it little mind. [This is quite different than checking the correlation between possession stats and winning among teams that are not focused on possession stats.]

        The point of that long paragraph is that it is a point of contention whether or not a high possession, weak in his own end defenseman is really an NHLer.

        I hope we can agree on Kampfer. He is a fairly good eighth or ninth defenseman – and that is actually something a team needs because of injury. As a #7, he is marginal, but I might keep him on the roster and give my real #7 a chance to play in Hartford. He is a clear weakness as a third pair guy, but he is a good weakness in that the game is boring when he is on the ice. A guy who is -3 (0 goals for, 3 against) is better than a -5 (3 for, 8 against) because, while he never helps you win, he gives the better players more opportunity to do so.

        So you don’t want Kampfer on your third pair, but you can do worse.
        [Surely Smith returns soon.]

        As for DeAngelo, we can argue about whether he is a legitimate NHLer now. I think he isn’t, but that still leaves open the possibility that he is better than Kampfer. However, I am absolutely convinced that if you tell Anthony DeAngelo that he is good enough to play, he will not improve and still be relative crap five years from now. He can excite fans of a losing team, but we want more.

        What do we really know about DeAngelo? Talented, issues, good enough to play for the Coyotes (according to an organization which can’t field a good team).

        We can add more: relatively good possession stats (I don’t really care, but it says something). Just about the worst +/- on that bad team (you don’t really care but it says something). The team had a better record in games he played than in those he didn’t, so there is a hint that he was more of an asset than a liability (but being a Yote asset is easier than being a Ranger asset).

  14. John B says:

    For all those saying don’t panic, or those defending AV, mull this out as these were the defense pairings at practice:

    McDonagh/Holden
    Skjei/Smith
    Staal/Shattenkirk
    Kampfer/DeAngelo

    Holden, he of the entire season of evidence that he’s awful on his offside, back on his offside and on the top pair.

    Skjei/Smith as the third pair which is, eh maybe. Staal/Shattenkirk as the second pair which means Staal playing where he shouldn’t, or Staal/Shattenkirk as the third pair and Shattenkirk playing where he shouldn’t.

    Let that sink in. I won’t bother with the mess of the forward lines. These pairs do enough on their own

    • Ray says:

      Sorry, but this is worth a try. Shattenkirk is great on the powerplay, but he is weak in his own end. He needs a left defenseman who is looking to cover for his gaffes. The left defenseman who is most comfortable in that role is Marc Staal. I believe McDonagh could handle the task better than Staal, but that means changing his game and curtailing his offensive contribution. And Skjei is young. And this is only something being tried.

      Seriously, ignoring salary and just looking at the first four games, the Rangers should go with seven defensemen with Shattenkirk never setting skate on the ice at even strength. Obviously, they can’t do that so they need to find something that will work.

      • Richter1994 says:

        “but he is weak in his own end.”

        They all are, so, you might as well have mobile D men that can skate, pass, and possess the puck.

        Staal, Holden, and Kampfer do not fit that description, as much as AV forces them down everyone’s throats.

        • John B says:

          Honestly, reading that entire reply just isn’t worth the time and effort to dignify it with a response. After the weak thing I was formulating a response, but then I saw that Marc Staal was the best LD to cover mistakes and I pretty much stopped reading.

          To each their own. Anyone who truly believes that, there is zero chance of any semblance of rational thought making a difference

          • Richter1994 says:

            I try to be unbiased, I do, but it seems to me that trying to justify the playing of these stiffs is very misguided, and misinformed IMO.

            I’ve been to all 3 home games so far, and they are much worse in person than on TV. And yet, the coach and some fans lobby for important minutes for them.

            How did you feel seeing the Holden-Kampfer pair on the ice taking regular shifts with less than 10 minutes to go and the Rangers down a goal?

            This really isn’t rocket science.

          • Walt says:

            John

            Even my 8 year old grandson Jake calls Staal a turnstile, what does that tell you????? This is a joke, bad dream, whatever you want to call it, but the pylon isn’t the answer for our problem. Bozo will continue to play the guy, and hopefully by 20 games he’ll be history.

        • Ray says:

          “but he is weak in his own end.”

          They all are, so, you might as well have mobile D men that can skate, pass, and possess the puck.

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

          Come on. Lundqvist has literally given up thousands of goals. Does that make him terrible? Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. These people play differently and it affects the game.

          Consider: you are playing a defense and you have a chance at a play that 75% of the time clears the zone and 25% creates a big opportunity for the other team. Honestly, I don’t KNOW what the player should do. I do KNOW that the aggressive player will do better with the newer stats and I also know that conventional wisdom, which AV subscribes to, says the conservative approach is correct.

          It is certainly true that if you gave me a choice between Michael Sauer and Bobby Orr, two guys who were great in their own end, I would make the same choice that you would. Of course, you want an Orr or a Leetch or a Lidstrom if you can get him. However, whether you want a Yandle or a Shattenkirk on the one hand or a Girardi or Staal on the other is open to debate (assume all players in their prime for this discussion), even though both you and AV think the answer is obvious.

          I will note one anecdotal fact. Two years ago, Florida won their division and Edmonton won only 31 games. In the offseason, Florida signed the sainted Keith Yandle while the Oilers were highly derided for signing Kris Russell, a Girardi- type player. Of course, there are always other changes, but these alone make clear the thinking of the organizations. Florida dropped 20 points or so and missed the playoffs and Edmonton became a very good team. Yes, there is Connor McDavid, but he played more than half the games the previous year and the Oilers (other injuries admittedly) actually did worse in the games he played than in those he missed.

          Oh, and AV does not want to play Kampfer – he does only because he likes the alternatives less.

          • John B says:

            I’m going to assume you post simply off emotion and antiquated NHL related thought process without any research.

            Simply put, Florida lost more games to injury than Edmonton, with injuries blowing huge holes in the Florida roster, and minor holes in the Edmonton roster.

            Ironically enough, when Conner McDavid lost significant time to injury in 15-16, with Kris Russell in the lineup, Edmonton failed to make the playoffs. Ironically enough when Florida had less injuries to their best players that season they did. In 16-17 when the shoe was reversed the results were reversed as well.

            But yes, it was Kieth Yandles fault that Luongo, the starting goalie, missed 21 games to injury and never fully recovered. Yandles fault Barkov, Top Center, lost 21. His fault Huberdeau lost 51, Bjugstad lost 28.

            Please continue your false narrative though,, I highly doubt facts will alter your course

            • Ray says:

              Let’s start with the fact that Kris Russell did not play with Edmonton in 15-16 to establish your interest in facts.

              Florida went from 47-35 to 35-47. In 15-16, Steven Kampfer played 47 games for them. Replacing Kampfer with Yandle should make the team better by your thinking (50-32?). Yes, Florida had injuries, but was it really fifteen extra losses worth of injuries.
              Yes, Barkov lost 21 and Bugstad 28, but those same two players lost 16 and 15 respectively the year before, so it’s only an extra 18. Add that to Huberdeau and Luongo and you get 90 missed games, basically losing one very good player for an entire season.

              Injuries do not explain what happened. Maybe half the decline, but no more. The team was simply not as good as the year before. And I’m not saying that Yandle was the problem. What I am saying is that people who think the way to build a good team is by stocking it with players like Yandle are quite possibly wrong.

              My comparison is anecdotal and should not be convincing. I know of no information the other way. Serious study is needed. How successful are GMs who worship at the altar of possession stats and how successful are those who are using antiquated thought processes.

  15. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Very much enjoyed this piece Becky!

    I agree with your reasons to “relax”. It’s early yet.

    As for your reasons to “panic”, no surprise, I disagree about AV as a reason to panic. Why? Because you can micro-analyze them all you want, but in the “macro” sense, we have a coach who has guided two different teams to the playoffs NINE years in a row now. That pretty much shows that he knows what he’s doing. It is highly improbable that a coaching “upgrade” will be available mid-season. The only way he gets canned mid-season is if the train totally goes off the rails, like the Football Giants.

    Your second reason to panic is bang on correct. That’s my biggest concern. Everyone focuses on AV, Hank, our defense. What most forget is that after last year’s hot start, our offense was really, really mediocre from mid-February through the playoffs. So far this year, other than on the PP and the KZB line, it’s extremely unimpressive. I don’t care who you bring in as coach, or even the defensive pairings. If our so-called “star” forwards don’t play that way, we are a .500 hockey team at best and will NOT make the playoffs. So this is much more about whether our forwards REALLY are good enough. That’s the biggest elephant in the room right now.

    • Becky says:

      Glad you enjoyed! I am concerned about AV, but that’s my opinion and it’s most certainly NOT the only issue. Hopefully this is all just early season woes and we can move on to kick you know what.